Supporting young people in education

There are many ways to help a young person with cardiomyopathy to be included and ensuring reasonable adjustments are considered. It is important to avoid making assumptions about how to help, but to look at the individual’s circumstances to identify what is appropriate for them.

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When supporting a young person with cardiomyopathy, it is important to consider what help is appropriate, what adjustments can be made, and when extenuating circumstances should be considered.

Time off and appointments

Young people with cardiomyopathy may need time out of school for medical appointments, depending
on how their condition affects them and their treatment. They may also need time off due to their symptoms. Ensuring a procedure is in place to keep up with school work, where it is possible and appropriate for the student to do so, is important.

School work and home work

The symptoms of their condition, and the impact of treatment, can make doing work at school, or
completing homework, difficult. For example, extreme fatigue may mean that they are not able to complete work to deadlines, so flexibility to take account of this is helpful.

Extra time and rest breaks

Cardiomyopathy can cause extreme fatigue and shortness of breath, which can be very limiting. It can
affect physical activities (such as sports), but also more stationary activities such as concentrating and
writing. Giving extra time for work to be completed, identifying support that might help, and allowing rest breaks when needed, can be helpful. 

Drinks and toilet breaks

Many young people will take diuretics (water tablets). So they will need regular access to drinks as well as needing frequent toilet breaks.

Support in exams

Giving extra time for exams due to fatigue can be important, as well as regular toilet breaks. Some schools may isolate pupils with medical conditions during exams, so that they don’t disturb other students. However, for some this can feel like being negatively singled out and they don’t feel ‘normal’ or included.

Bullying

Some young people are bullied at school, often because others don’t understand that they are ill. Being seen as ‘different’ or having ‘special treatment’ can make this worse. Knowing about the condition, and how it can affect someone, helps raise awareness and understanding.

Education, health and care plans

Many children and young people will not need any special provision at school. However, for some, their condition affects their learning and they may need additional support. An Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan identifies additional help that may be needed to support a pupil. Education providers have a legal duty to support pupils with educational needs.

Risk assessments

As each young person’s condition will be different, it is important to avoid making assumptions about
what they can, and can’t, do. Risk assessments are an opportunity to review situations and activities on an individual basis so that the person can be safely included in activities, and appropriate adjustments made to include them.

Useful organisations

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Advisory Centre for Education
Advice and information about education issues for parents.

Citizens Advice
Information on the Equality Act.

Contact
Information on education and support, including identifying when EHC plans are needed.

Equality Advisory and Support Service
Information about equality and human rights

Equality and human rights commission
Information on the Equality Act.

GOV website
Details on Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions

Information Advice and Support (IAS) Services
Information, advice and support for young people and parents. Local authorities have a service. Contact your local council to find out about the services available in your area.

Independent Parental Special Education Advice
Educational advice for parents.

Read more about our services for young people.

© Cardiomyopathy UK. March 2018.