Adolescent survivors’ information needs for transitions to postsecondary education and employment

Marnie Hauff, Regina Abel, Juliana Hersh, Jill Isenberg, Debra Spoljaric, Robert J. Hayashi, Allison A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Adolescent and young adult (AYA) survivors of cancer and central nervous system (CNS) tumors endure major life disruptions with their diagnosis, treatment, and the burden of emerging learning difficulties. Survivors and their parents often struggle to obtain more academic support as survivors transition through school. This study explored the knowledge and experience survivors and their parents need as they progress through school to college. Methods: This cross-sectional study examined childhood cancer and CNS tumor survivors, aged 11 to 21 years, with a known learning difficulty (Individual Education Plan, 504 Plan) and their parents. We assessed participants’ knowledge of and experience with transition planning for postsecondary education and independent living. Results: Ninety-two AYA survivors and parents (45 survivors, 47 parents) completed the survey. High school–aged survivors described their learning difficulties better than middle school–aged survivors. Survivors estimated their abilities higher than did their parents. Despite a majority of survivors expecting to attend college, 68.5% of survivors and 57.9% of parents were not certain how to get special accommodations for standardized college entrance exams. Only 20.8% of survivors were aware of what a transition plan includes. Parents understood the transition planning process and when it should begin better than the students (P = 0.001), but many parents (40.0%) were still unsure. Conclusions: AYA survivors and parents lack knowledge necessary to successfully transition to their goals after high school. Greater education is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27547
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Keywords

  • AYA survivors
  • childhood cancer
  • information needs
  • neurocognitive deficits
  • parents of survivors
  • postsecondary transition planning

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