Teaching medical students about children with disabilities in a rural setting in a school

Peter Jones*, Mal Donald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background. To describe and implement a community paediatric placement in a school setting that teaches undergraduate medical students about intellectual disability that provides benefit to the community and is acceptable to both students and teachers. Methods. Twenty six 4th year undergraduate medical students of the University of Newcastle completed their Paediatric studies based in Tamworth in 2004 & 2005 including an 8 week placement at Bullimbal School for Specific Purposes. The placement involved the students being actively involved in assisting with the delivery of a variety of activities aimed at improving the motor skills of a group of disabled children. De-identified data were obtained from completed evaluation surveys from 75% (21 of 26) of the medical students and from 100% (5 of 5) of the teachers. Results. All students and teachers found the placement was acceptable and enjoyed the placement and felt that it gave the medical students a greater understanding of children with disabilities. 80% (4 of 5) of the teachers involved in the program did not feel that its implementation added to their workload and all were enthusiastic to continue with the program. Conclusion. Medical students can be effectively taught and have a valuable clinical experience in a school setting to learn about children with a disability. This educational innovation has provided a mutual benefit for both the medical students and the school children who participated in the program without impacting on the workloads of teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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