Tuesday, 3 October 2017

A hit on the head and where it led

A hit on the head and where it led 

Nick in Emergency 
Written by Jennifer Cooper-Trent, illustrated by Anthony Mitchell
Momentum multimedia, Balgowlah, 2004.

- a book review by Nick

"A hit on the head" is a non-fiction book about a six year old who rode his bike into a car and got a hit on his head and how he got over this struggle.

The boy was knocked out and was rushed in an ambulance to the emergency room at the hospital. A torch was shone in his eyes "as bright as the moon". He woke up and said "my head hurts". There were some scans and tests and an operation to clear blood from his head. His mum, dad and teddy bear were at the hospital and in a few days he felt much better.

At school it was hard, he couldn't do work easily and words got jumbled. His mum said his brain just needed a rest. Kids at school called him "brain damaged" and other names, it was a struggle.

Four years later his writing was great and this encourages other kids with brain damage or a hit on the head to keep trying and be strong.

On the back of the book it says "wear your hat man". I always wear my helmet.

From my perspective as a young rider, falling off your bike is bad if it's on concrete but some falls can easily be avoided by slowing down and thinking ahead, especially at corners and busy roads. When I fell off my bike and went to hospital it hurt but it's good to know your family is there with you.

At school respect everyone and their different learning, including if they have been "hit on the head". It doesn't matter whether you're bullied or not respect everyone.

By Nick, 11 years

(photo in hospital Emergency, bike accident took place a few years ago)

A hit on the head and where it led (with link to YouTube video) is available for loan from the AWCH library.

Other AWCH resources for families of children with a Traumatic Brain Injury include :

Out of the shadows: understanding the experience of siblings following their brother or sister's Acquired Brain Injury [DVD]

Looking ahead: Returning to school after an acquired brain injury [DVD]

Step by step: a guide for families of children and adolescents with a brain injury (E-resource)

EdMed: Ronald McDonald learning program education medical guidelines

Out there! recreational activities and resources for young people with acquired brain injury. A guide for parents

Head injury, the facts: a guide for families and care-givers by Dorothy Gronwall, Philip Wrightson and Peter Waddell,

Caring for children with special healthcare needs and their families a handbook for healthcare professionals Edited by Linda L. Eddy, Oxford Wiley- Blackwell, 2013.

Pediatric traumatic brain injury by Jeffrey H. Snow and Stephen R. Hooper

Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation: services, treatments and outcomes Edited by M. Anne Chamberlain et al.

Children with acquired brain injury : planning and support guide for schools, preschools and childcare services Department of Education, Training and Employment, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide

Children with acquired Brain Injury: educating and supporting families Edited by George H.S. Singer, Ann Glang and Janet M. Williams


Books on brain injury for children and teens - Lash & Associates publishing

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au
AWCH Library

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

George catches a cold

George catches a cold
Ladybird books, 2017
Based on the TV series Peppa Pig created by Neville Astley and Mark Baker

"Oh dear!" George was out in the rain and now has a cold.

It has been a terrible flu season and so many have been knocked flat. If you, or a little one near you has been sick and needs cheering up, Peppa pig might help bring a smile. Sickness can bring a sense of loss and confusion. Children recovering may be sad from activities missed and other uncertainties. "George catches a cold" could be a good conversation starter, helping parents listen and kids let feelings out.

Peppa pig fans will see a funny side to being sick. "Silly" George doesn't like wearing his rain hat, he is having so much fun jumping in the muddy puddle and making noise. George throws his hat in the muddy puddle too. Peppa, in big sister fashion "grunts" disapproval, older siblings of toddlers may nod in agreement.

Sure enough, George catches a cold. Mummy pig thanks Doctor brown bear for coming. Your preschooler might relate to opening their mouth wide and saying "ahhh". Perhaps, like George, they are worried and hold a favourite toy. George gets better and returns to his noisy self, family fun begins again. I hope you enjoy this calm, bright and quirky book, Peppa pig has alot to share.

How to help children cope when they are sick or need medical procedures?

Both health professionals and parents may want to know how to help children cope better during doctors visits and medical procedures. This can be particularly challenging for kids who don't like to be touched, hate taking medicine, are in pain or experience unresolved fear from previous medical procedures.

Parents may need reassuring that it is OK if their child is crying when it is time for a needle or medical procedure. Paediatric nurse, Brooke Batchelor, hosts a helpful parent blog and Facebook page. In the Emergency department and at home Brooke has found a child laughing is a child releasing tension stored up. Brooke talks about play and "play listening", little games that start laughter and lead to better coping. Parents and professionals who want to find out more, listen to the Handinhand parenting podcast "assisting children in your office or hospital setting" (50 min). For a quick read article on the value of play and preparing children try Taking the fear out of the hospital, with furry friends and fun by the Mayo clinic.

Why does AWCH keep talking about preparing kids and coping?

AWCH wants to help parents/carers and professionals make healthcare experiences as normal as possible allowing kids to keep on developing. When a newborn baby, young child, child or adolescent is not coping with healthcare experiences and their needs are not met, impacts can be carried into adult life. AWCH values parents and carers finding ways of coping, being less anxious and preparing children. Preparation in advance will help avoid trauma and lifelong negative impacts on health and wellbeing.

More links?

Find more links on AWCH library page, including Needles and Needle-related medical procedures.


Is there something that works for you, for example with pill swallowing? Please share to help others.

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au
AWCH Library

Please note: Books can be borrowed from the AWCH library within Australia (for the cost of postage). We have books for preschools and longday care centres to borrow, we also run healthcare familarisation storytime

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Children in hospital: a guide for family and carers

Children in hospital: a guide for family and carers by Richard Lansdown
Oxford University Press (Oxford Medical Press) (1996) ISBN: 0-19-262357-5

"Matching the intervention to the child"...

Children in hospital: a guide for family and carers is an information-packed book combining research and personal experience. Written by Richard Lansdown, formerly consultant Psychologist at Great Ormond St Hospital London, one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals.

Although the book is over 20 years old, families, healthcare professionals, early childhood educators and students will find a useful overview supporting children in hospital and healthcare. Researchers continue to read this book today.

Child rights

Have we come to expect child-friendly services? Lansdown writes about early hospitals and emotional aspects such as separation and the battle of early visitors, this gives a significant background. Development of child rights in hospital, saw the emergence of advocacy organisations and the Charter for children in hospitals, NAWCH 1984.

In Australia, AWCH promoted child rights and better healthcare with Health care policy relating to children and their families published 1974, revised 1999 and Charter on the rights of children and young people in healthcare services, 2010. Understanding child rights in healthcare is essential. An 11 year old girl on a children’s ward in the UK asks “aren’t we kids supposed to have a bill of rights when we are in hospital?", Children's hospital charter revisited.

Fear and coping

Children and families going to hospital or healthcare appointments may be fearful, Lansdown approaches the topic from a child’s perspective without being simplistic. You will find practical information about children’s understanding of health, illness and treatment. Play in hospital and play specialists (also known as child life therapists or specialists) guide children towards meeting their emotional needs.


Parents and carers can be supportive when a child is in pain and often know what techniques are likely to distract their child during medical procedures such as injections. Children turn to their parents or carers to see if it is safe and to know what to do.

The chapter on pain gives an understanding of its impact on children. Information and support are based on the child’s developmental stage and what works for them. Supportive strategies for children facing painful procedures include active distraction. This may involve reading books, toys, songs, stories, video games, mobile apps and new technologies such as video goggles. Other supportive strategies are participation, desensitization and modelling, watching a film that shows other children and mastery coping or coping models (initial anxiety then coping). Being noisy (counting out loud), guided imagery, relaxation and breathing techniques are some more options to consider.

A combination of distraction strategies might be used such as bubble blowing and guided imagery. For example, a child is asked to visualize the colour of the pain and places it on a bubble as though it was an imaginary cloud floating away. As the pain moves off, the bubble changes to the child’s favourite colour, blowing away pain and fear (p 116).

Talking with children

Summaries of pain assessment tools show how children rate their pain. Why ask children about pain? Adults usually explain how important a procedure is but there could be a gap in the child’s thinking. For example, a finger prick/injection to take blood may leave some children wanting information about why it is being done and what will happen next with the blood.

Children in hospital: a guide for family and carers reviews literature and includes bibliographical references providing a quick source of information for healthcare professionals and students. Families will find it is easy to dip into relevant sections. This book gives a valuable overview on the wellbeing of children in healthcare and also shows glimpses of what a good children's healthcare service should look like.

More information

For more information about supporting children through medical procedures, see Needles and Needle-Related Medical Procedures links.

AWCH also holds a copy of Needles: helping to take away the fear, a booklet for parents based on information provided by Dr Richard Lansdown produced by Action for Sick Children, 1994.

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au
AWCH Library

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Grief in children

Grief in children: a handbook for adults

Atle Dyregrov
2nd edition, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 2008. ISBN 9781843106128

"Atle Dyregrov has written about children and death with a calm and clear voice"

Explaining death, grief and loss to children and young people can be incredibly challenging especially for grieving parents and carers. Even health professionals, emergency workers, police and teachers working with children find talking about death, grief and loss with kids hard.

This became clear to me when a nurse asked AWCH for information about how to talk to children in her own family about their parent's serious illness. She wanted to talk with and prepare children at their level and in a supportive way. This was a critical time in their lives.

Grief in children: a handbook for adults, is an accessible book for parents, carers, family and professionals. It is for people who want to prepare, care for and support children living through grief, loss or trauma when someone is dying or has died. Circumstances covered vary from anticipated to sudden and traumatic death. 

Children and adolescents at different age levels have different understandings about death and grief. So how do we help children through their grief journey? 

Atle Dyregrov has written about children and death with a calm and clear voice. This is valuable in western culture where people often find it difficult to know how to talk about death. This book gives information about children and how they might think about death based on their age, sex and developmental stage. Useful examples have been drawn from family life experiences. In this second edition, more children's voices are included with children's questions and reactions. There is also more material on traumatic deaths. Atle Dyregrov has listened to what children have said about what is helpful and supportive.

To view contents link to the book, Grief in children: a handbook for adults. The chapter Guidelines for taking care of children’s needs, explores open and direct communication. There is information on death following an illness, making the loss real and giving time for understanding to grow. Children need information, adolescents may want to have websites to look at. 

The section Handling death in a playgroup and at school, is an inevitable situation for teachers and this book will help to do this well. Find help with mental preparation and planning before a death or other critical event occurs. Atle Dyregrov includes information on terminal illness of a child, although the general focus of the book is on sudden death.

This handbook overviews crisis or grief therapy for children and bereavement groups for children, caring for oneself and peer support.

Grief in children, draws on the author’s experience as a clinical psychologist, author and director of the Center for Crisis Psychology in Bergen, Norway.  His extensive experience and research underpins this book, yet the tone is informative and very readable. The case studies bring experience and understanding to the topic. Concerned adults will find a good overview and helpful information for what can be a hard task involving raw emotions.  

For children’s healthcare facilities valuing patient and family centered care, Grief in children will be a good addition to the bookshelf. It is also an accessible reference book for early childhood educators, teachers, school counselors, pastoral carers, libraries and families.

If you found this blog informative you might also like to read our blog G is for Grief and Grandma.

More information

Crisis support

Kidshelpline  Call 1800 55 1800

Hey teachers there's also the Kids helpline @ School program

Lifeline  Call  13 11 14

Resources and links

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Parent and carer information

Do you have a resource that has been helpful? We'd love to hear from you.

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au
AWCH Library

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

My friend has Down’s syndrome

My friend has Down’s syndrome*

Written by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos. Illustrated by Marta Fabrega. Lets talk series.  Book house, Brighton, UK, 2012

#Down syndrome, #WDSD17, #notspecialneeds #Child wellbeing, #Healthcare preparation, #Health literacy, #Play, #Recreational activities, #School children, #Social inclusion, #Therapeutic books for children

“Do you have a special friend? I do! Her name is Ella, and she’s my best friend”

"My friend has Down's syndrome" is a bright children's book with colourful illustrations and an upbeat approach. Written essentially for school children about peer friendships. "Do you have a special friend? I do! Her name is Ella, and she's my best friend".

Positive messages surround the setting of children at summer camp with activities and fun. At first there is reluctance to have a new group member, Ella, who has Down syndrome. The camp club leader, Miss Theresa, tells the children about Ella and there are concerns; however with information comes understanding.

The story is told through the eyes of one girl and Ella is her new buddy. The girls play together, learning and sharing and partnering in sports, arts and crafts; also the camp show. Ella teaches her enthusiastic buddy pottery skills. Both girls are unique and have things they love to do as well as strengths.

“Note to parents”, about the book’s purpose is at the back. Acceptance and acknowledgment of children with Down syndrome and eliminating existing barriers with peers is a focus. Another aim is promoting a better understanding of children with Down syndrome. Find information about health problems that may be experienced by some children with Down syndrome, as well as supportive interventions. 

Developing relationships, breaking down barriers and providing opportunities enables children to strive towards being the best they can be.

More information
Visit Down Syndrome Australia to find out more, including links to personal stories and videos to challenge thinking, there's an Easy Read version.

Notes about healthcare 

Child-friendly Information and healthcare 

The book highlights children have information needs, information helps when coping with new situations and the instability of life. Going to hospital or even the doctors can be a disjointed interruption. Finding ways to make healthcare more normal and less stressful is essential.

When it comes to healthcare, children cope better when their information needs are met. For example, if having a procedure such as an x-ray, parents and healthcare professionals read books to children. Healthcare professionals, early childhood educators and teachers can link to factsheets, infographics, online resources such as Apps. 

Is the information child-friendly? One child-friendly App tested on children is Okee in medical imaging. Health literacy is important, what are the information needs of each child and how can he or she be prepared for a doctor’s or dentist visit or hospital? See related blogs Four ways parents can increase their protective role, Keeping kids needs in the picture, H is for healthcare preparation and the Paediatric nurse.

Jillian Rattray
AWCH librarian
E: Jillian@awch.com.au

* please email if you wish to borrow this book.