Illness is an experience with meaning – what is your story?

Lisa A. Hollingsworth and Mary J Didelot write that “Illness is a perceptual phenomenon:  It is far more than a complex physiological element. This was further posited by Lord John Habgood who stated, “…that life events are more important than our genetic inheritance and that we must take the whole of what we are into account.” There exists an objective and subjective duality to illness.  The objective portion is the disease itself.  The subjective nature is that of illness, or the experience of being ill.  The subjectivity includes the perceptual variables of each patient’s attitudes, life experiences, and creative strategies for approaching the challenges of illness.  Miller and Thorenson state that “health is better conceived of as a latent construct like personality, character, or happiness, as a complex multidimensional construct underlying a broad array of observable phenomenon.” They add that health includes three broad dimensions:   suffering, functional ability, and subjective inner peace or coherence in life.  These dimensions, then, encompass the cognitive, emotional, physical and spiritual facets of each unique person. If disease is treated in a mechanical, one-dimensional manner, just as an experience and not as an experience with significant meaning, the treatment rendered is insufficient.” (pp.3-4)

I think these points are worth discussing in ECE. How do we perceive illness in ECE? How do we help children understand illness – their own and other people’s? How do we respond when they bring their cuts and scrapes and feelings of general unwellness? How do we respond to longterm illness? Infectious disease?

Ref: (italics in original; emphases in blue bold mine) Lisa A. Hollingsworth and Mary J Didelot (c2010) Illness:  The Redefinition of Self and Relationships. pp.3-14 in Eds. Isabelle Lange & Zoë Norridge Illness, Bodies and Contexts: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Inter-Disciplinary Press: Oxford


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Metaphors and Narratives around children and learners, social and political contexts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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