Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)

How Asthma Makes Me Feel


It is terrifying when you can’t breathe. It’s even more devastating for a child who doesn’t understand why this is happening.

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) asked children to tell us—in pictures and in their own words—how they felt during an asthma attack, and how they felt when they could breathe again. What they told us was enlightening—and heart-rending.

stormWe collected their drawings and stories to share in this video and in a hardcover book, How Asthma Makes Me Feel: A Commemorative Book of Artwork and Essays by Young People with Asthma.

“Drawing is a powerful tool for expressing emotions and world views that are hard to put into words,” said Jessica Hoffmann, Ed.D., director of arts in education and lecturer on education, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

sun“A striking feature shared by these drawings is that the young asthma sufferers see themselves as isolated during an asthma attack,” Hoffmann said. “After asthma, children see themselves facing physical challenges, riding bicycles, running free, released from the weight of a condition that they faithfully depict with heavily blocked lungs. The literal appearance of lungs in so many of the drawings lets us know that children who suffer from asthma are continuously aware of their internal physiognomy.”

“Living with the debilitating sickness of asthma is very frustrating and frightening. I never know when I’m going to have an asthma attack, or for how long. … When my asthma is gone and I can breathe, I feel like a normal kid again.” –Tim Barnes, Age 12, Raleigh, NC

Our children’s stories illustrate why we must stop the unnecessary suffering and deaths caused by asthma. It’s not only possible—it’s a goal that’s long overdue.