Migraine poses another headache for students
More than 10% of students suffer from migraine – a debilitating, neurological condition that can last up to three days. As exam season approaches, stress, the most common trigger factor, can bring about increased attacks in sufferers. But students should not let this affect their exam performance.
“Students with migraine should be aware that special arrangements can be made to facilitate them during state examinations,” says Donna Ryan, information officer at the Migraine Association of Ireland MAI. “A letter from the student’s doctor should be given to the school in advance of exams and the school can then approach the State Examinations Commission.”
In extreme circumstances, if a student suffers with migraine special arrangements can be made to facilitate them if they are taking state exams. The school needs a letter from the student’s GP/Consultant before approaching the State Examinations Commission. The arrangements that can be made, depending on the individual circumstances, include:
-Allowing a student to sit the exam on their own with their own superintendent
-Providing a tape recorder to record answers if the candidate cannot write during an attack
-Allowing a delayed examination start time. The start can only be delayed if the candidate has had no contact with other candidates or anyone who may have seen the examination paper. Candidates cannot, however, take the exam at a later date.
Without recourse to the State Examinations Commission, the school may authorise breaks or rest periods in each examination session that are warranted by the physical or medical condition of the candidate. Under this type of accommodation the time taken for rest or as a break may be compensated for at the close of each examination period to a maximum of 20 minutes.
However, the MAI advises students not to solely rely on the examinations commission to facilitate them but to be proactive in managing their condition at exam time.
“Migraine is sparked off by trigger factors,” says Ryan. “Good management involves finding triggers, using a migraine diary, and then eliminating them, if possible, from your lifestyle.”
Common triggers at exam time include stress, missed meals, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, flicker from computer screen and dehydration.
“The migraine brain likes routine,” advises Ms Ryan. “At exam time migraine sufferers should try to maintain this routine, so no overnight cramming, missing meals and snacking on junk food. We’d also advise migraineurs to get some form of exercise – even just a brisk walk during the day – and to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.”
Stress can be harder to manage but the MAI advises migraineurs to set early deadlines so they have more time to prepare if an attack upsets the timetable.
The MAI hosts a website specifically for teenagers, www.migra-zone.ie, where further information can be found.
Worried students, parents and teachers are also welcome to call the Association’s helpline service for advice or to order a free information pack. Call 1850 200 378 (ROI) or 0844 826 9323 (NI). You can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Migraine affects between 12-15% of the population and 10% of children
-It is classified by the World Health Organisation as the twelfth leading cause of disability worldwide amongst women and nineteenth overall
-Migraine is a complex, debilitating neurological condition
-A one-sided throbbing headache
-Nausea and/or vomiting
-Sensitivity to noise, light and sound
-Aura (20%) – primarily a visual disturbance but can include pins and needles, difficulty in articulation, confusion...
More severe cases can result in temporary paralysis or loss of consciousness
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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