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Children, Volume 1, Issue 3 (December 2014) , Pages 261-488

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Open AccessArticle
The Healing Power of Play: Therapeutic Work with Chronically Neglected and Abused Children
Children 2014, 1(3), 474-488; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030474 - 09 Dec 2014
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4169
Abstract
This article concerns a therapeutic intervention with a group of abandoned children living in a Romanian pediatric hospital. The children, ranging in age from one to ten years old, had suffered chronic neglect and abuse. They had previously spent most of their lives [...] Read more.
This article concerns a therapeutic intervention with a group of abandoned children living in a Romanian pediatric hospital. The children, ranging in age from one to ten years old, had suffered chronic neglect and abuse. They had previously spent most of their lives tied in the same cot in the same hospital ward. They were poorly fed and their nappies were rarely changed. Although able to see and hear the other abused children, they experienced little in the way of social interaction. The article focuses on the play-based methods that were employed to aid the children’s recovery, while at the same time highlighting the general benefits of this very specific therapeutic approach to children’s recovery and development. In particular, there is an exploration of concepts such as symbolic representation, negative capability, joining, and the significance of play cues. However, despite the clear value of these individually focused techniques, the article proposes the tentative hypothesis that the most powerful healing factor was the unfettered playful interaction between the children themselves. In other words, the children in a very real sense may have healed each other while playing. Full article
Open AccessDiscussion
Impacts of Climate Change on Inequities in Child Health
Children 2014, 1(3), 461-473; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030461 - 03 Dec 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2338
Abstract
This paper addresses an often overlooked aspect of climate change impacts on child health: the amplification of existing child health inequities by climate change. Although the effects of climate change on child health will likely be negative, the distribution of these impacts across [...] Read more.
This paper addresses an often overlooked aspect of climate change impacts on child health: the amplification of existing child health inequities by climate change. Although the effects of climate change on child health will likely be negative, the distribution of these impacts across populations will be uneven. The burden of climate change-related ill-health will fall heavily on the world’s poorest and socially-disadvantaged children, who already have poor survival rates and low life expectancies due to issues including poverty, endemic disease, undernutrition, inadequate living conditions and socio-economic disadvantage. Climate change will exacerbate these existing inequities to disproportionately affect disadvantaged children. We discuss heat stress, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases and undernutrition as exemplars of the complex interactions between climate change and inequities in child health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
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Open AccessEditorial
Tribute to Professor Anthony J. McMichael
Children 2014, 1(3), 457-460; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030457 - 26 Nov 2014
Viewed by 2224
Abstract
Emeritus Professor A. J. “Tony” McMichael (1942–2014) was an internationally renowned and pioneering Australian academic and advocate in epidemiology, who was passionate about understanding the influences of the environment on human health. In an illustrious career spanning more than four decades, he made [...] Read more.
Emeritus Professor A. J. “Tony” McMichael (1942–2014) was an internationally renowned and pioneering Australian academic and advocate in epidemiology, who was passionate about understanding the influences of the environment on human health. In an illustrious career spanning more than four decades, he made significant contributions to the scientific community and policy discourse—including ground-breaking research related to the health of children. McMichael was a prolific academic writer with over 300 peer-reviewed papers; 160 book chapters and two sole-authored books. However, his outstanding talent was for integrating complex and seemingly unrelated strands from the environmental and health sciences into a cohesive narrative—and highlighting its relevance to lay persons, scientists and governments alike. He was instrumental in validating this nascent field of research and inspiring many others to follow his lead. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
Open AccessArticle
Design of a Functional Training Prototype for Neonatal Resuscitation
Children 2014, 1(3), 441-456; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030441 - 20 Nov 2014
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2771
Abstract
Birth Asphyxia is considered to be one of the leading causes of neonatal mortality around the world. Asphyxiated neonates require skilled resuscitation to survive the neonatal period. The project aims to train health professionals in a basic newborn care using a prototype with [...] Read more.
Birth Asphyxia is considered to be one of the leading causes of neonatal mortality around the world. Asphyxiated neonates require skilled resuscitation to survive the neonatal period. The project aims to train health professionals in a basic newborn care using a prototype with an ultimate objective to have one person at every delivery trained in neonatal resuscitation. This prototype will be a user-friendly device with which one can get trained in performing neonatal resuscitation in resource-limited settings. The prototype consists of a Force Sensing Resistor (FSR) that measures the pressure applied and is interfaced with Arduino® which controls the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) indication for pressure and compression counts. With the increase in population and absence of proper medical care, the need for neonatal resuscitation program is not well addressed. The proposed work aims at offering a promising solution for training health care individuals on resuscitating newborn babies under low resource settings. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Integrative Therapy Use for Management of Side Effects and Toxicities Experienced by Pediatric Oncology Patients
Children 2014, 1(3), 424-440; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030424 - 14 Nov 2014
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2470
Abstract
Integrative Therapies (IT), otherwise known as Complementary and Alternative Medicine, are widely used among pediatric oncology patients, despite a paucity of available evidence. This review summarizes surveys that describe the prevalence of IT use by pediatric oncology patients, both during therapy and in [...] Read more.
Integrative Therapies (IT), otherwise known as Complementary and Alternative Medicine, are widely used among pediatric oncology patients, despite a paucity of available evidence. This review summarizes surveys that describe the prevalence of IT use by pediatric oncology patients, both during therapy and in survivorship, as well as the modalities being used. Additionally, the evidence that exists for specific treatments that appear to be efficacious in controlling specific symptoms is described. Finally, there are recommendations for practitioners on how to best counsel patients about IT use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute and Long-Term Sequelae of Childhood Cancer Therapy)
Open AccessDiscussion
Will Global Climate Change Alter Fundamental Human Immune Reactivity: Implications for Child Health?
Children 2014, 1(3), 403-423; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030403 - 11 Nov 2014
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3223
Abstract
The human immune system is an interface across which many climate change sensitive exposures can affect health outcomes. Gaining an understanding of the range of potential effects that climate change could have on immune function will be of considerable importance, particularly for child [...] Read more.
The human immune system is an interface across which many climate change sensitive exposures can affect health outcomes. Gaining an understanding of the range of potential effects that climate change could have on immune function will be of considerable importance, particularly for child health, but has, as yet, received minimal research attention. We postulate several mechanisms whereby climate change sensitive exposures and conditions will subtly impair aspects of the human immune response, thereby altering the distribution of vulnerability within populations—particularly for children—to infection and disease. Key climate change-sensitive pathways include under-nutrition, psychological stress and exposure to ambient ultraviolet radiation, with effects on susceptibility to infection, allergy and autoimmune diseases. Other climate change sensitive exposures may also be important and interact, either additively or synergistically, to alter health risks. Conducting directed research in this area is imperative as the potential public health implications of climate change-induced weakening of the immune system at both individual and population levels are profound. This is particularly relevant for the already vulnerable children of the developing world, who will bear a disproportionate burden of future adverse environmental and geopolitical consequences of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
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Open AccessReview
Toxic Stress: Effects, Prevention and Treatment
Children 2014, 1(3), 390-402; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030390 - 03 Nov 2014
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 6831
Abstract
Children who experience early life toxic stress are at risk of long-term adverse health effects that may not manifest until adulthood. This article briefly summarizes the findings in recent studies on toxic stress and childhood adversity following the publication of the American Academy [...] Read more.
Children who experience early life toxic stress are at risk of long-term adverse health effects that may not manifest until adulthood. This article briefly summarizes the findings in recent studies on toxic stress and childhood adversity following the publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Report on the effects of toxic stress. A review of toxic stress and its effects is described, including factors of vulnerability, resilience, and the relaxation response. An integrative approach to the prevention and treatment of toxic stress necessitates individual, community and national focus. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Hospital Clowning as Play Stimulus in Healthcare
Children 2014, 1(3), 374-389; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030374 - 30 Oct 2014
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3336
Abstract
A serious illness, a chronic medical condition or a hospital bed should not deny any child her/his basic right to play, a right essential for children’s development and general wellbeing. In fact, it is in these frightening and anxious moments that play and [...] Read more.
A serious illness, a chronic medical condition or a hospital bed should not deny any child her/his basic right to play, a right essential for children’s development and general wellbeing. In fact, it is in these frightening and anxious moments that play and the stimulus that it provides can help the most. This article will focus on the impacts and benefits of professional hospital clowning for the wellbeing and recovery process of ill and hospitalized children. Our experience has shown that through interactive play and humor, “clowndoctors” can create an enabling and supportive environment that facilitates children’s adaptation to the hospital setting and improves their acceptance of medical procedures and staff. While moving from bedside to bedside, RED NOSES clowndoctors encourage children’s active participation and support their natural instinct to play, fully including them in the interaction, if the children wish to do so. Therefore, clowndoctor performances offer ill children much needed stimulus, self-confidence and courage, elements fundamental to reducing their vulnerability. In this piece, a special emphasis will be put on the various approaches used by RED NOSES clowndoctors to bond and reach out to children suffering from different medical conditions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Health Behaviors of Childhood Cancer Survivors
Children 2014, 1(3), 355-373; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030355 - 22 Oct 2014
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2231
Abstract
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of childhood cancer survivors living to an old age due to improved cancer treatments. However, these survivors are at risk of numerous late effects as a result of their cancer therapy. Engaging in protective [...] Read more.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of childhood cancer survivors living to an old age due to improved cancer treatments. However, these survivors are at risk of numerous late effects as a result of their cancer therapy. Engaging in protective health behaviors and limiting health damaging behaviors are vitally important for these survivors given their increased risks. We reviewed the literature on childhood cancer survivors’ health behaviors by searching for published data and conference proceedings. We examine the prevalence of a variety of health behaviors among childhood cancer survivors, identify significant risk factors, and describe health behavior interventions for survivors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acute and Long-Term Sequelae of Childhood Cancer Therapy)
Open AccessArticle
Teenagers and Playing: Are Pastimes Like Neknominate a Usual Response to Adolescence?
Children 2014, 1(3), 339-354; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030339 - 22 Oct 2014
Viewed by 2162
Abstract
While “outside of society” for much of the last sixty years, adolescents have attracted attention in recent times because of perceptions of their anti-social and, in some cases, violent behaviour. Teenagers face many challenges on their journey to adulthood; growth spurts, hormone developments [...] Read more.
While “outside of society” for much of the last sixty years, adolescents have attracted attention in recent times because of perceptions of their anti-social and, in some cases, violent behaviour. Teenagers face many challenges on their journey to adulthood; growth spurts, hormone developments and changes in the structure of the brain. These biological challenges have been affected since around 1990 by the impact of technology and the subsequent cultural changes. Activities, like the technology-driven, socially-networked pastime, Neknomination, amongst others, meet basic drives that gym-based activities do not. Adults are increasingly concerned about unhealthy patterns of behaviour that suggest that this coming generation of adults will not live as long as their parents, causing misery and putting additional economic pressures on families and society if the expected standards of living and health are to be maintained. The pressures facing teenagers are many, but a concerted effort by adults to change their attitudes towards children and young people to help rather than instruct may assist with meeting their needs and those of society. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
Prevention is Better than Cure: A Hands-On, Play-Based, Innovative, Health and Well-Being Program in Remote Australia
Children 2014, 1(3), 318-338; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030318 - 16 Oct 2014
Viewed by 4360
Abstract
A key to improving the quality of life in remote communities is the empowerment of children who are at health and educational risk. Between 2002 and 2009, at a remote Aboriginal school, students and community members participated in an innovative, play-based health and [...] Read more.
A key to improving the quality of life in remote communities is the empowerment of children who are at health and educational risk. Between 2002 and 2009, at a remote Aboriginal school, students and community members participated in an innovative, play-based health and well-being program aimed at helping children to become self-determining and responsible for their own health and well-being. Holistic in its approach, and broad in its scope, the multi-faceted program encompassed the fundamentals of personal hygiene; understanding of body systems; the importance of nutrition, hydration, sleep and exercise; brain care; the biology of emotions, with particular emphasis on anger management and the critical interplay between emotions and behavior; the impact of substances of abuse on the brain; as well as the Hospital Familiarization Program (HFP) which prepares children for planned and unplanned hospitalization. Program outcomes included improved school attendance and student engagement; increased community awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle; improved self-concept, self-esteem and self-confidence; as well as increased respect and caring for self and others. A reduction in children’s fear and anxiety when facing hospitalization and visits to the doctor was also evident. Each year, 12,500 children throughout Western Australia enjoy the benefits of the HFP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Play in Children’s Palliative Care
Children 2014, 1(3), 302-317; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030302 - 01 Oct 2014
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4555
Abstract
Play is the universal language of childhood and the time and opportunity to play is every child’s right. The role of play as a vehicle for communication, a tool for distraction and its value in the holistic development of a normal child is [...] Read more.
Play is the universal language of childhood and the time and opportunity to play is every child’s right. The role of play as a vehicle for communication, a tool for distraction and its value in the holistic development of a normal child is without dispute. The role and value of play increase proportionately when a child is made more vulnerable through illness or disability. Despite this, providing time and opportunities to play can be overlooked or considered to be of little importance or relevance when the focus of the adult carers is the amelioration of clinical symptoms of the illness and on lessening the psychological impact the illness may have on the child. This paper outlines the role and the value of play as an integral component in the provision of palliative care for children with chronic, life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. It will show how providing appropriate equipment, sufficient time and relevant play opportunities not only improves the very sick child’s psychological wellbeing, but also allows the child to cast aside the confines and restrictions imposed upon them by their illness and for a few golden moments to be nothing more than a child at play. Full article
Open AccessReview
Seeking Balance in Motion: The Role of Spontaneous Free Play in Promoting Social and Emotional Health in Early Childhood Care and Education
Children 2014, 1(3), 280-301; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030280 - 01 Oct 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4503
Abstract
There is accumulating scientific evidence of the potential of play and playfulness to enhance human capacity to respond to adversity and cope with the stresses of everyday life. In play we build a repertoire of adaptive, flexible responses to unexpected events, in an [...] Read more.
There is accumulating scientific evidence of the potential of play and playfulness to enhance human capacity to respond to adversity and cope with the stresses of everyday life. In play we build a repertoire of adaptive, flexible responses to unexpected events, in an environment separated from the real consequences of those events. Playfulness helps us maintain social and emotional equilibrium in times of rapid change and stress. Through play, we experience flow—A feeling of being taken to another place, out of time, where we have controlled of the world. This paper argues that spontaneous free play, controlled and directed by children and understood from the child’s perspective, contributes to children’s subjective experience of well-being, building a foundation for life-long social and emotional health. The paradoxical nature of young children’s spontaneous free play is explored. Adaptability, control, flexibility, resilience and balance result from the experience of uncertainty, unpredictability, novelty and non-productivity. These essential dimensions of young children’s spontaneous free play typically produce play which is experienced by adults as chaotic, nonsensical and disruptive. The article concludes with a preliminary discussion of the challenges and possibilities of providing for spontaneous free play indoors, in early childhood care and education programs. Full article
Open AccessReview
Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Zinc Deficiencies in Children Presenting with Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Children 2014, 1(3), 261-279; https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030261 - 29 Sep 2014
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5049
Abstract
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder increasing in prevalence. Although there is limited evidence to support treating ADHD with mineral/vitamin supplements, research does exist showing that patients with ADHD may have reduced levels of vitamin D, zinc, ferritin, and magnesium. These nutrients [...] Read more.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder increasing in prevalence. Although there is limited evidence to support treating ADHD with mineral/vitamin supplements, research does exist showing that patients with ADHD may have reduced levels of vitamin D, zinc, ferritin, and magnesium. These nutrients have important roles in neurologic function, including involvement in neurotransmitter synthesis. The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of each of these nutrients in the brain, the possible altered levels of these nutrients in patients with ADHD, possible reasons for a differential level in children with ADHD, and safety and effect of supplementation. With this knowledge, clinicians may choose in certain patients at high risk of deficiency, to screen for possible deficiencies of magnesium, vitamin D, zinc, and iron by checking RBC-magnesium, 25-OH vitamin D, serum/plasma zinc, and ferritin. Although children with ADHD may be more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and iron, it cannot be stated that these lower levels caused ADHD. However, supplementing areas of deficiency may be a safe and justified intervention. Full article
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