Lessons Learned From a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Family-Based Intervention to Promote School Functioning for School-Age Children With Sickle Cell Disease


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Abstract

Objective Tested a family-based group problem-solving intervention, “Families Taking Control,” (FTC) to improve school functioning and health-related quality of life (HRQL) for children with sickle cell disease. Method Children and caregivers completed questionnaires assessing HRQL and school functioning and children completed performance-based measures of IQ and achievement at baseline and 6 months later. Families were randomized to the intervention (FTC, n = 42) or delayed intervention control (DIC, n = 41) group. FTC involved a full-day workshop followed by 3 booster calls. Results There were no differences between FTC completers (n = 24) and noncompleters (n = 18). FTC group (n = 24) and DIC group (n = 38) did not differ significantly on primary outcomes at follow-up: number of formal academic and disease-related accommodations, individualized education plan/504 service plan, school absences, school HRQL, or academic skills. Conclusions Although families found FTC to be acceptable, there were no intervention effects. Challenges of the trial and implications for future research are discussed.

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