Learning problems in children of refugee background: a systematic review

Added December 4, 2017

Citation: Graham H.R., Minhas R.S., Paxton G. Learning problems in children of refugee background: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2016 Jun 1;137(6):e20153994.

Thirty-four studies were included in this systematic review of learning problems in children of refugee background.  Refugee youth showed similar secondary school outcomes to native-born youth. However, there is limited prevalence data in younger refugee children, though a number of risk and resource factors were identified.

While learning problems are common in high-income countries, refugee children may pose cumulative risk for educational disadvantage. Thirty-four studies were identified from six databases to determine prevalence and determinants of learning problems in refugee children.  While refugee youth had similar secondary school outcomes to native-born youth, there is limited prevalence data for preschool and primary school outcomes. No studies were identified examining specific language disorders or autism spectrum disorders. However, numerous risk and resource factors were identified from the available studies. Risk factors included parental misunderstandings, teacher stereotyping, bullying and racial discrimination, trauma, and forced detention. Resource factors for success included family cohesion, parental involvement in education, cultural sensitivity, and successful acculturation. However, there are multiple gaps within the field regarding refugee children.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the health of refugees and asylum seekers but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the health of refugees and asylum seekers on the basis of this summary alone.

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