Impact of Narcolepsy On The School Life of Children

  • Students who are suffering from narcolepsy can perform in the school in a better way. Parents and teachers can identify the symptoms that are associated with narcolepsy and when they are diagnosed, they can help the kids improve their academics.
  • Students can also maintain alertness by making a regular time- table for the naps and consult a doctor for necessary medications as well.

Narcolepsy starts developing during the teenage and that can interfere with a child’s performance at school, interaction with peers and the teacher. The disorder can make a child frustrated as it can be difficult for him or her to stay awake and focus during examinations.

Teens who are suffering from narcolepsy have to work hard in establishing and maintaining a schedule that will help them in managing their day to day activities. All these planning demand self-discipline and understanding of the circumstances that are prevailing. Despite all such ambiguities, gaining success in academic curriculum as well as develop emotions is possible when the right strategies are implemented. Students with narcolepsy can gain college degree just like any other general population of normal students.

Impact of Narcolepsy on the School Life of Children

Finding the Problem:

As this condition during teenage years; its impacts are often seen in school and the activities that are held after school. Sleepiness is common in some teens and it is important to identify the right symptoms before denoting it as narcolepsy. The trouble can be identified by difficulty in completing the daily homework or even failing in certain subjects. This may be a sign that the student is facing sleep attacks and is unable to sit attentive for long lectures.

Teachers are often the first and the best person to understand the current state of a child along with his or her attentiveness. There might be a case when teachers notice that a child is sleeping in the class because he is not interested in learning a particular subject. It is, therefore, necessary for the parents to be in conversation with their children and assess the right amount of sleepiness. This type of relationship with the child should be in continuation, even after the treatment is sought from the medical practitioner.

Taking Help of School Administration:

Once the medical diagnosis of narcolepsy has been done, a communication should be maintained between the teachers, parents and the school administrators as this is the key to succeeding in the treatment. The severity and the treatment approach may differ from person to person so the treatment will be tailored as per the needs of every child.

As most teachers and school administrators are not familiar with the disorder or have certain misconceptions about the condition, learning more about narcolepsy can be beneficial. This is equally important when the medications which are optimized for rendering enough sleep to the child in school premises.

The child’s performance may be affected in a positive way when they carry a note that describes the condition in the right manner. The doctor can also specify the medications that the child has to take during his or her school hours and recommend a nap time in a secure place.

Parents must be in contact with the school nurse regarding the medications and the child’s performance while he or she is at school. You may also leave your contact details so that the authorities can contact you when they see significant behavioral changes in your child. This information can be shared with the doctor for making necessary amendments in the prescriptions.

Education Plans:

At times, it becomes necessary to make special plans for meeting the needs of the pupils who are suffering from narcolepsy.

  • Education plans are available in two major categories: Section 504 plans and Individualized Education Program plans.
    • Section 504 plan is created to preserve the rights of the children with certain disabilities and are enrolled in schools that gets enough funding from the US Department of Education. The plan is implemented via a general education program that is managed in the school.
    • On the contrary, Individualized Education Program plans concentrate on implementing special programs that can be held outside the classroom for all the eligible students.
    • The National Center for Learning Disabilities “Section 504 and IDEA Comparison Chart” can be visited for knowing more information about the above-mentioned plans.
  • Every primary and secondary school that has pupils suffering from narcolepsy must be evaluated on an individual basis for making sure whether the child is liable for making accommodations. Neuropsychological and psycho-educational evaluations can prove to be helpful for determining the cognitive vigor and flaws in the narcoleptic children.
  • Once the students have been identified to be liable for the accommodations, the right one amongst them should also be determined. They should be tailored as per the needs and requirements of every student. This may involve taking spare time during the tests or offer some nap time for better understanding. You can also equip the child with recording devices that will help your kid in recording the notes. When in need, the teachers can also share notes or audio for covering up the loss.

Improving Alertness of the Child:

The drowsiness that comes along with narcolepsy can be weakening and devastating. However, many pupils often learn to cope up with the work and improve the mental alertness while in school. The following strategies will be helpful:

  • Explain to your specialist and request them to optimize the timing and dosage of meds. With this, the mental alertness of the kids can improve while they are inside or outside the school.
  • Speak to the doctor and make necessary medication changes when required.
  • Participate in The Class Activities: While there are some teenagers who find it useful to sit on the back benches in a class, others may feel comfortable to occupy the front seats. By engaging the mind in daily activities, the mind may stay alert at all times. You can also indulge on chewing gums that are sugar free.
  • The administrators may arrange a place for the kid to take a 20-minute nap during the school day, such as the nurse’s office. Some kids can take long naps, but shorter naps can help with sleeping soundly at night. Experiment with different nap times until you are able to find the right type that works well.
  • Take a Nap After School: A short nap before, amidst or after school activities can help in maintaining alertness during the daylight hours.
  • Be Cautious About The After School Activities: Assess various after-school activities that are preventing you from getting a good amount of sleep. Always make sure to give priorities to the activities that you are passionate about.
  • Remain Active While Studying: Read while standing or study in a calm room or take sufficient breaks within every 20 minutes. Discussing the home assignments with fellow mates can keep your mind alert.
  • Take a Break For Exercising: Exercising at fixed intervals can help in improving mental alertness.
  • Maintain Discipline: Be sure to maintain a fixed time for sleeping even during the weekends. Self-discipline can help in staying calm during the chaotic days of school as well as college. A nap schedule will also keep you alert and save from sleep attacks as well.
  • Get Quality Sleep: On an average, children between the ages from 5 to 12 often need 10 to 11 hours of sleep and teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sound sleep. Every person can feel drowsy when he or she does not get enough sleep but in cases of narcolepsy, it can hit a person hard.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 1, 2021

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