by Ruby Tully

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When a child has a brain tumour there are many challenges. The child and the family need to manage the medical care and treatment of the illness, to understand what is happening and be confident and positive. Constant questions for parents are:

  • How can I help my child understand what is happening?
  • How can I help my child cope with this?

These questions began an association of parents and staff at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, which became The Children's Brain Tumour Storybook Project. The three storybooks are the result.

How are the storybooks organised?

The storybooks follow the child's progress from discovering the nature of the illness, to surgery and then to further treatment. The three separate storybooks ensure that the child gets information about what is happening at the right time by focussing on what the child experiences directly. The language is simple.

The storybooks do not tell the child what to feel, or how to react. They create space for thinking and sharing.

What’s The Matter? is about investigations, being in hospital and the people on the ward.

I Have A Brain Tumour is about making or confirming a diagnosis and about surgery.

What Happens Next? is about treatments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

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