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Airing Pain 78: Putting Children’s Pain in the Picture

How chil­dren can express their pain in art, plus tips for parents

This edi­tion is fund­ed by a grant from the Stafford Trust.

‘In hos­pi­tal. Don’t know what’s going to hap­pen to me.’ These words, writ­ten by a child asked to describe her pain after surgery, speak of the anx­i­ety caused by a fail­ure to reas­sure and explain.

This edi­tion of Air­ing Pain focus­es on the com­mu­ni­ca­tion chal­lenges faced by chil­dren and those car­ing for them. Pro­duc­er Paul Evans hears from Alyson Twycross and Bernie Carter – both are nurs­es and aca­d­e­mics spe­cial­is­ing in children’s pain – about how these bar­ri­ers can be over­come using art pro­duced by the chil­dren to rep­re­sent their pain and its effect on them.

Twycross explains why it’s impor­tant for chil­dren to be informed and involved in deci­sions about their care. She also gives tips for par­ents on help­ing chil­dren recov­er from surgery and min­imise the risk of devel­op­ing post-sur­gi­cal pain.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Chil­dren and young peo­ple, com­mu­ni­cat­ing pain, fam­i­ly, arts and crafts, post-sur­gi­cal pain, arthri­tis, man­ag­ing con­sul­ta­tions, med­ical research and misconceptions.


  • Alyson Twycross, Head of Depart­ment for Children’s Nurs­ing, Lon­don South­bank University
  • Bernie Carter, Pro­fes­sor of Children’s Nurs­ing, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cen­tral Lancashire
  • Zahra Baz and Aimee Gal­lagher (inter­viewed dur­ing the North­ern Ire­land Pain Sum­mit 2015).


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