How healthcare professionals can work with the school of a child with migraine

Why you should work with the school

Migraine can have a negative impact on the lives of children who have migraine attacks, and can particularly affect their education.

This is because there are factors involved in going to school and learning that can trigger migraine attacks and exacerbate a child’s migraine. These factors include the school environment, school policies and practices, and the nature of learning itself.

Schools can play a role in preventing migraine attacks being triggered and help a child when they do have a migraine attack by adjusting its environment, policies and procedures. They are outlined here.

Those treating a child’s migraine can help communicate this role to their patient’s school and by supporting them in making these adjustments. Here is how you can work with a child’s school in supporting the management of their migraine.

Making a plan with the child and their parents and carers

Talk to them about how they manage their migraine at school, what helps and what exacerbates their migraine. Review their headache diary to identify triggers, particularly those that could be related to school and education.

Discuss any challenges they have in explaining their migraine and its management to the school.

Decide together actions that you can do to help them and what they would like you to do, which can include:

  • Sending the school a letter telling them that your patient has been diagnosed with migraine and explaining what migraine is.
  • Include a description of the patterns of the individual child’s migraine and the migraine attack triggers that have been identified.
  • Depending on the circumstances of the child’s migraine, the school, and any challenges they are facing at it, recommend reasonable adjustments to the child’s school environment, or policies and practices to help them manage their migraine.
  • Depending on the school’s rules on administering medication and how the child is being treated, you could give information on what you have prescribed the child and how it can be administered at school to help them in developing an individualised health care plan for the child when they are at school.

Review plan

Review the plan after six months to see if your recommendations have been implemented by the school and the impact it is having on the child’s migraine.