How schools can help their pupils
Ways that you can help your pupils with migraine
Migraine can have a negative impact on a child’s education, which is outlined on this page (link to page about how migraine can affect them at school).
While a school can’t cure a child’s migraine, there are things it can do to help a child manage its migraine at school and reduce the impact it has on their education.
A school’s environment, policies and procedures can be adjusted to help prevent migraine attacks being triggered and to help a child when they do have a migraine attack.
Here are ways to help children with migraine at school.
Reduce triggers in the school environment
Have the temperature of the classroom moderate and have it well ventilated to prevent children with migraine becoming dehydrated which can trigger migraine attacks.
If any children with migraine are sensitive to the artificial lights in the classroom, have them sit near as much natural light as possible.
In some cases, it might help a child if school white boards, computer backgrounds and paper colours aren’t white but a softer colour such as salmon, pink, or cream.
Give them access to food and water
If hunger or dehydration is a migraine attack trigger for a child, allow them to keep a water bottle on their desk and to eat a snack during class.
Help with learning, stress and exam pressures
Children who miss a significant amount of lesson time due to migraine may require further support to ensure that they do not fall behind. This may require support such as materials to catch up on work missed, extra tuition, online or distance learning tools and lesson plans.
Make adjustments for children with migraine such as extended deadlines for coursework and a separate room for exams if a child’s migraine puts them at a disadvantage in assessments.
Have a plan in place for their migraine medication
Arrange with their parents on an Individual Healthcare Plan that outlines what medication they should take and who should administer it to them when they have a migraine attack at school, as well as what else they should do to help them. Ask for their consent to confidentially share the plan with school staff who work with the child so they are aware of the child’s particular care plan, and can react appropriately if the child becomes unwell at school.
You could also work with them on an Education, Health and Care Plan if their migraine is severe.
Sickness policies and procedures
While amending sickness policies and procedures can be complex, it would be helpful to children with migraine if you reviewed how they could be adjusted to minimise the disruption that their migraine attacks have on their attendance. This could include providing a dark room for a child with a migraine attack to lie down in and not automatically sending children home when they have migraine attacks.
Raise awareness of migraine in your school community
As migraine is not only a painful condition to live with that can affect their education, it can also affect their learning but can have a knock-on effect on their confidence, happiness and friendships. This is often because it is often not very well understood by people who don’t have it.
Increased awareness and understand of migraine can help those with it. Schools can support their pupils with migraine by raising awareness of the condition and the impact it can have amongst teachers and pupils. The Migraine Trust is able to provide information and resources to support awareness raising activities in schools. Contact us our helpline on 0808 802 0066 or online to find out how we can help you.