One in ten children may miss up to 82 days of school in the United Kingdom due to Migraine and headache disorders, and 20% of students will have a troublesome headache more than once a week. That's a lot of head pain for school-aged children. If their pain is not properly addressed, it had a negative effect on their home and school life. This problem may also continue once a child and/or adolescent receives a diagnosis as they may be undertreated, stigmatized and still have difficulties in school. To combat this, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Headache UK have joined to create a new set of guidelines for schools. These guidelines will help teachers, schools and parents detect students who are having issues with Migraine and headache and hopefully assist them in getting proper diagnosis, education and treatment they sorely need.
The School Policy Guidelines for Students with Migraine and Troublesome Headache discuss what measures can be taken by schools, teachers and parents to help with the problem of Migraines and headache disorders in school. "Most students will experience headache at some point, and for some, the impact on their schoolwork and life at home can be significant. On average, seven days of school a year will be lost because of headache and at other times, the effects will make it harder for a student to concentrate on their work," says Dr. David Kenrick, author of the policy. The guidelines offer advice on understanding the difference between a Migraine and headache, giving examples on how to reduce the effect of Migraine and headache on a student's school day and gives treatment ideas that are easy to follow. The policy also offers schools sample letters, documents and strategies to provide students the best academic outcome possible, which can be accommodated for individual students.
In addition to sample letters, documentation and strategies, the policy includes a Headache health care plan record that details the medications, emergency phone numbers and how the child's Migraine/headache affects them. This is a wonderful part of the policy; actually having a record at school what the child is feeling during his/her Migraine. The importance of treating an attack early, avoiding any triggers (dehydration, sleeping patterns and skipping meals, certain foods and drinks) they can and the importance of learning about Migraine is also covered.
The section for healthcare professionals, school nurses and doctors gives a detailed account of what Migraine is, how it is diagnosed, and what options there are to treat children in the United Kingdom, preventively and acutely. "Schools can play a key role in identifying the problem and encouraging pupils and their parents to seek help from their GP. Having a simple school policy in place should really help improve both the school and home life of many pupils." Wendy Thomas, Chair of Headache UK and Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust said. "The impact of migraine and headache, particularly on children, is often underestimated. These conditions are common among schoolchildren and can have a detrimental effect on school attendance, educational attainment and emotional wellbeing. By helping schools and parents understand the problem, we hope to encourage them to work together to provide better support for students affected by migraine and headache."