Effect of Visual Art School–Based Stroke Intervention for Middle School Students

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Abstract

Background: Community stroke awareness initiatives have traditionally been used to expand knowledge of stroke signs and risk factors to high-risk adult populations. Here, we use a novel unfettered, visual art–based approach for an elementary school initiative to raise stroke awareness. Methods: Seventh graders in a middle school art class received stroke awareness training during the course of the 2015 to 2016 school year through their teacher in the visual arts class. In turn, they used this training to develop their own artistic interpretations of key stroke awareness concepts via project-based learning and then present their projects to raise awareness about stroke. We evaluated our predata and postdata to determine whether the visual art school–based stroke intervention was effective in both educating students about stroke and enabling them to effectively disseminate this information to parents and other adults in their community. Results: The pretest evaluation indicates a fair or good knowledge about stroke, and no student indicated an “outstanding” or “excellent” knowledge. The posttest evaluation indicated a higher degree of stroke awareness because students were rated as having an “outstanding,” “excellent,” or “very good” performance especially in the ability to translate knowledge of stroke awareness lessons learned in their art class into a well-articulated stroke-related project and presentation. Pearson χ2 test reveals significant difference (P < .001) between the pretest and posttest evaluations. Conclusions: Our results indicate that our school-based stroke intervention was effective in both educating students about stroke and enabling them to effectively disseminate this information to parents and other adults in their community. The use of a visual art teacher to lead the educational component in the intervention indicates that expertise in neurology or stroke is not necessary to facilitate understanding of stroke and highlights the importance of creativeness in stroke education for children.

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