Children 'Draw-and-Tell' Their Knowledge of Genetics
Martha Driessnack and Agatha M. Gallo
The purpose of this study was to explore children's early understanding of basic genetic/genomic concepts using an innovative, child-sensitive approach to data collection. Exploratory, qualitative study using art-based "Draw-and-Tell Conversation" interviews with children were used. Each conversational interview was guided by two drawing completion tasks and a semi-structured interview guide. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. In this study, 27 children 7 to 10 years of age shared their understanding of basic genetic/ genomic concepts in their drawings and conversations. Data were organized into four categories: 1) Inside the Body, 2) Under the Microscope, 3) It's Genetic, and 4) In Our World. Using a child-sensitive approach to data collection, children revealed a range of understanding about basic genetic concepts, including DNA, disease causation, risk, and inheritance. Data suggest informal family conversations and media exposure inform children's early understanding, highlighting the need to be aware of the sources and content of information available to children. Nurses play a central role in assessing children's genetic/genomic knowledge. The Draw-and-Tell Conversation is a novel approach that can be used to support parents as they approach and discuss genetic concepts with their children.