Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)






Education for children with special needs is an integral part of the Australian educational philosophy and practice. Over the years much research and planning has been undertaken to provide education of a relevant and practical nature for children handicapped with congenital disabilities.

But the educational needs of children handicapped because of acquired rather than congenital disabilities have been much less extensively documented and are much less well understood. In particular, the needs of children affected by neoplastic diseases (cancer) have only recently begun to be investigated, for until recent times neoplastic diseases were almost always fatal, with death often occurring relatively soon after the disease was diagnosed.

Today, however, medical advances have resulted in many children actually being cured and others living for years before they eventually succumb to cancer. But the cost of these additional years is high: children with cancer are faced with prolonged, enervating and often painful treatment and, unless a remission is achieved, are usually forced to divide their time between home and hospital, attending school only when they feel sufficiently well.

Obviously, with this increase in life expectancy, these children must continue to be educated. But their special situation demands special attention. In light of their particular needs the traditional kind of 'school education' is manifestly inadequate, and this project asserts that what these children need is 'life education'. This type of education assesses the specific needs of the individual child, and formulates goals to enable these to be met. It views the child in all aspects of their environment: in the home, the hospital, the school and the community, and it looks at ways of facilitating their education through ha multidisciplinary approach with professionals and parents working together as partners.

Briefly then, it is the purpose of this study to show that such a program of life education for the child with cancer is both desirable and feasible.


This thesis was submitted to Newcastle College of Advanced Education in partial fulfillment of requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood).