Improving Teacher Responsiveness In Making Adjustments for School Children With 'Critical Prone' Medical Conditions

Publication Date



Improve response by teachers and schools for children with life threatening crisis prone medical conditions. An action research project was undertaken to identify the extent of these conditions and this problem in schools and to make recommendations for teachers and schools about responding for children with life threatening crisis prone medical conditions. Three focus groups were conducted with Brisbane Catholic Education Consultants (Inclusive Education) from seven primary schools and four secondary schools - metropolitan, some rural and one semi rural. A survey was conducted by telephone and email with Principals of 18 schools, to seek exemplars of effective practice in schools to respond to crises for children with crisis prone medical conditions. Data includes how Principals identified these students and what their practices were in dealing with them both at enrolment and when a crisis occurred. Examples of questions that were asked in the focus groups:

  • What crisis prone medical conditions do your students have?
  • What do you understand about these crisis prone medical conditions?
  • Who responds and How do you respond to crises for these students?
The data from the focus groups was of mixed usefulness, as some of the respondents had varying ideas of what constituted a crisis, and of some of these were not life threatening. From the focus groups we were able to determine that the main life threatening crises were Asthma, Diabetes Mellitus, Epilepsy, Anaphylaxis. Several schools identified exemplar responses to the crisis that they were undertaking. From this point we consulted with the Principals about identifying these at risk students at enrolment, and how they identify them and how the school follows up on them. All of this was compiled and analysed and it seemed that mostly the Principals did not have a full picture of the numbers of at risk students. Where they thought they were collecting data on these students at enrolment via forms, the questions being asked on the forms were of an open ended nature. Parents were reporting to these questions using a variety of terminology, and the data collected by the schools was entered into a database verbatim, for example ‘severe asthma’ or ‘allergy to nuts’, but the schools were not able to categorise the responses in a meaningful way, meaning that searches for a particular life threatening crisis on the database would not return reliable numbers and or names of students with this condition. A key recommendation arising from this research was to change how this data was collected at enrolment and to have options on the forms for clear categories like Asthma, Diabetes, Epilepsy and Anaphylaxis. As well, exemplars for practice were recommended and information factsheets were supplied to schools for inclusion in their teacher education.

Document Type

Open Access Research Data

Access Rights

Open Access


Conditions apply to the use of the data. Contact Ms. Sandra Miles (sandra.miles@acu.edu.au) or Dr. Karen Flowers (karen.flowers@acu.edu.au) to negotiate access.

Ph: +61 (0)7 3623 7293

1100 Nudgee Road
Banyo QLD 4014

This document is currently not available here.


Research Location