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Migraines & School

  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Michelle,

    That may not be as big a problem as you think. Let me explain…

    First, it might be helpful for others to know that children that miss an excessive number of school days due to illness can receive schooling at home. This admittedly does take a bit of effort, but there is no reason for a child not to be able to finish high school and graduate.

    That is no longer an issue for you because you are too old for every state that I am aware of anyway. If you were within the age limit, most states have an online program for homebound students to complete to prepare for the GED exam.

    My suggestion for you is to look for an online program that you can complete when you are able. There are many within a very wide price range. There may be one free of charge for your state. There is also the option of checking with the local community college to see if they offer a GED program that might work for you. One other option is to find a homeschool curriculum and use it. The best way to find one of those is to locate your local homeschooling group and talk to them. Not only will they be full of information that may be helpful, but they may be able to locate a used curriculum for you to borrow or use. Sometimes public libraries carry curriculum, can order it for you to borrow and use, or even sponsor GED classes.

    Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. If you know a local teacher, they may be an additional source od useful information for your particular area. It may take a bit of digging, but there are programs and people willing to help you out there. The trick is locating them. Persistence will serve you well. 🙂

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  • By Anonymous

    Hello. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to handle having a migraine while in school if no medications work and you want to stay there. I’m stubborn with them and battle my way through the high school day with them, and any ways that you can think of to make it a bit easier would be most helpful 🙂

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  • By HoneybeeKC

    Hi HEATHERSCOTT,

    I’m sorry you have not had andy medications that work. I’m kind of at that point right now too. Fortunately I’m out of school but when I was in college I went through a period where I missed a lot of school due to migraines. After missing a couple of weeks I signed up with the Student with Disabilities Resource Center. I’m sure every school has one.
    The center was really helpful as far as being a resource for me to communicate with my professors. I could sign up for classes early, miss a few more than the allotted classes per semester, and schedule exams if needed. (most schools interrupt sleep schedules by having a 3 am registration period and everyone knows irregular sleep doesn’t help with migraines)

    Anyway, talk to your doctor about writing a letter so you can share it with your school’s center and hopefully you can feel a little less stressed about missing classes. Happy and healthy thoughts to you!

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  • By pooh2you

    I am going through an issue with my daughter and absences due to her migraines. Fortunately, her school does not count against her absences that are excused with a doctor note – so her neurologist has given a “blanket note” that explains her migraines/triggers and that will miss school due to her migraines. Her high school is fine with that, her PE teacher however is not! I cannot begin to describe my frustration with this woman who tells me that because it is a participation class, the normal absence rules do not apply! As of now, only a month into the new year, my daughter already has 6 absences and so she will be getting an “incomplete” and will have to re-take the PE course! She is a HS sophomore and is an A/B student. The PE teacher told that maybe in a few years there would be a cure or better treatment for her headaches and she could re-take PE then, of course she may not graduate on time – all this because of PE!! So, I began to “politely” try to explain migraines to her, I could have been talking to a brick wall! The PE woman then asked how in the world she would ever make in the working world. And this is an “educator”?? I explained the ADA act and workplaces making allowances for employees such as no perfumes. She would only keep telling me that my daughter needed to complete PE somehow. SMH
    Has anyone else had to deal with this??? The guidance counselor and her other teachers are very understanding for the most part, but this PE woman will not budge! She told me that it would look bad against HER if she “let” my daughter pass PE without the proper level of participation (?) ARGH!!! I also have chronic migraine and this is triggering one!!!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    pooh2you – She probably needs an IEP. This is likely the only way you can *force* this teacher to do the right thing. Each school will have specific rules on how this is accomplished. They should be in the pamphlet you got from the first day of school. If need be, each state has child advocates that can help you through the process. This is what we had to do for my son. It was a nasty process because I really had to fight hard for my son, but boy did I learn a lot. Hang in there. Be polite and patient, but remember that you are all that stands between your daughter and her success or failure at school. You are her advocate.

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  • By lisacooper

    My 12-year-old boy got what seemed to be a severe tension-type headache on September 24th. It lasted for three weeks with no break. He was at least able to walk and watch TV to distract himself and didn’t have nausea. He still has a severe headache more often than not and the neurologist is calling them migraines. There have been other symptoms which are more temporary, like vertigo, nausea and needing reading glasses. He’s missed a lot of school and lately we are pressing him to at least try to get through a day. Often he does, but he says he isn’t really able to learn much. Fortunately he is really bright and his teachers are helping him keep up. We will be having a 504 meeting soon.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    lisacooper – in cases like this I always ask this important question: Is your son currently under the care of a headache and Migraine specialist? Before you can get appropriate treatment, you must have an appropriate diagnosis. Board certified headache and Migraine specialists are tops in this field, and most patients find they get the best treatment from these doctors. You can read about options in your state here: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

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  • By caringmom

    Hi
    I hope your children are doing better than when you posted. My son has missed most of his freshman year due to chronic migraines.He is slowly making improvement on a migraine treatment plan, but I just wanted to share that what seems to be helping him the most is cranial sacral therapy. He also takes a preventative and supplements but he has shown improvement (although not great yet) since he started with cranial sacral therapy. He is also post-concussive, but I know our therapist has helped others with migraines.
    I hope you were able to get the school on board with helping your children. We have been fortunate in that area, but it is still a lot of work to keep everyone in the loop and make sure things are working well. Wishing you the best of luck…

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi caringmom,

    Thanks so much for sharing what is working for your son. I’m glad to hear that cranial sacral therapy is helping.

    Is he keeping a regular sleep schedule? Eating on a regular basis and not getting dehydrated? These are important things for us folks with migraine, post traumatic headache and post concussion syndrome. Our sensitive brains need to be as trigger free as possible. Young men find it a bit difficult to keep schedules, but it is important.

    Nancy

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  • By Jackie

    I have a 14 year old daughter who has been suffering from migraines for the past year. Last spring, she was home schooled bur missed out on a lot of socialization with her peers and became very isolated. Over the summer he migraines seemed to resolve and she was able to return to her school. Four weeks in, her migraines returned and has been occurring every two weeks. She is missing six to eight school days a month. Trying to play catch up with her school assignments has made her very stressed. Last night she asked if she can be home schooled again. I will do anything to help her thru this, but I don’t want her to miss out on the life experiences and the friendships she has thru interactions while she is in school. Any suggestions and personal experiences would be greatly appreciated. I’m also looking for any ideas in preventative treatments, names of specialists, etc. (We live in southern CA)

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Door3335,
    I can’t imagine how hard it is to find the right balance of taking care of your daughter while also ensuring that the Migraines don’t hinder her growth in life. One of our writers, Tammy Rome, has some great article topics about kids, school and Migraines. I hope some of these will be helpful:

    https://migraine.com/blog/special-education-services-children-migraine/
    https://migraine.com/blog/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-helps-children-with-chronic-migraine/
    https://migraine.com/topic/migriane-the-educational-system/

    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Megan

    Hi,
    I recently got a migraine with an aura. I couldn’t speak properly, my arm and leg became tingly, and my vision was impaired. What do I do if this happens at school? If I can’t speak properly and I am confused how do I get help? I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks 🙂

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Megdole,
    The symptoms you have can be really scary when you physically can’t do anything to help. I have a few suggestions:
    1. In your purse or backpack, keep a list of all your meds, your doctor’s contact info and your diagnosis or symptoms. Just in case you can’t communicate, someone might be able to find this info.
    2. Tell all your teachers. Maybe write up info on your condition and what they symptoms look like so they will be able to identify when you aren’t doing well. Give them the same info and instructions on what to do if this happens. Give this same info to the school nurse.
    3.Lastly make sure a few of your friends know about your condition and what you would want them to do if you experience this.

    I think in your case, it would be pretty easy to tell that something is wrong, so if you can’t speak for yourself others around you will know what to do to help.
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Tammy Rome

    Door3335 and Megdole –

    I have a son with migraine who misses school a lot because of them. We fought long and hard to get an IEP in place to help him. It finally became a reality last year (11th grade). It is critical to get your doctors to help advocate for students. Once the school is aware of the medical condition, then a parent can make a request for an evaluation (the link is in Katie’s post above). Keep fighting for the necessary accommodations!

    Tammy

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