Starting a Conversation: School Children with Congenital Heart Disease


109 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 1-55059-319-8
DDC 362.198'9212




Reviewed by Ian W. Toal

Ian W. Toal is a registered nurse in Winnipeg.


Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) experience many stressors
in early life, stressors that can become more acute when they enter the
school system. Starting a Conversation is about the process of balancing
“normal” social/academic development with underlying physical

Although the authors state that the “book is for everyone who would
like to learn about congenial heart disease,” they have taken a
somewhat fragmented approach to the topic. The early chapters provide an
academic overview of the literature pertaining to the sociological
aspects of how people (both adults and children) respond to CHD. The
descriptions of the heart and the disorders are deferred until Chapter
4. Elsewhere in the book, a child, parent, and teacher describe their
experiences with school and CHD. The book includes a bibliography, but
no index and (unfortunately for the lay reader) no glossary.

While Robert and MacMath do a good job of explaining some of the social
problems associated with CHD, their book would have benefited from a
more coherent presentation.


Robert, Jillian, and Sheryl MacMath., “Starting a Conversation: School Children with Congenital Heart Disease,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,