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Wee Wheezers Asthma Education Program

Implemented in Darnell Army Community Hospital, Ft. Hood, Texas by MAS Consultants Inc., P.O. Box 5130 Aiken, South Carolina 29804.

Wee Wheezers: Program Components

The educational package is titled Wee Wheezers: An Educational Program for Parents of Young Children. The package contains:
  • An Instructor’s Guide, which includes an introduction, an explanation of the program’s theoretical basis, use of the lesson plans, implementation of the program, discussions of the interactive format, and roles of communication and classroom management skills with adults and with young children.
  • A Curriculum Manual, which details the content of the four sessions in detail (shown below) with instructions on how to teach them, including various prepared "scripts".
  • A set of all handouts and visual aids used during the course
  • Two professionally produced videotapes, one used in the classroom and one for use at home for each family.

The 2002 curriculum revision includes a Program Evaluation section with forms to be completed by the instructors and course participants. The results of this evaluation should be used to document and assess the need for course improvements.

The lessons emphasize the parents’ and the children’s responsibility for recognizing the early signs and symptoms of asthma and for initiating the appropriate steps to care for asthma, including trigger avoidance, adherence to medications, and medical help when necessary (See Table 1). [opens in new window]

Each lesson includes instruction, with participant feedback and discussion about their experiences with asthma as it relates to the topic. Sessions are interactive and participants complete hands-on exercises and assignments in class and are given homework assignments designed to help them construct and carry out their asthma management plans. For example, parents view a videotape segment showing young children experiencing asthma symptoms of varying severity in the urgent and emergency care settings. The video is designed to help parents recognize these symptoms in their own children through visual and auditory cues. To reinforce this learning, and to enable parents to share this information with other caregivers, they are given a video tape for use at home that contains key segments of the video presented in class.

Each of the first three sessions has homework assignments to help engage parents in learning activities that support their becoming effective managers of their child’s asthma. These include:
  • Completing a form describing all the asthma medications prescribed for their child and the instructions for their use
  • Completing an asthma action plan based on early warning signs, symptoms, and prescribed medicines to be discussed with and endorsed and/or modified by their children’s physicians
  • Counting their children’s breathing rates when they are awake and asleep for a week and plotting those breathing rates
  • Identifying asthma triggers in their homes and planning to eliminate those triggers.

Homework for children includes practicing belly breathing and completing an asthma diary with their parents’ assistance, in which they record taking medications, informing a parent when they are having an asthma symptom, doing belly breathing, and recording peak flow results.

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