ME is a chronic disabling illness of the immune and central nervous system that affects children as well as adults.
ME is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome or post-viral fatigue syndrome. The cause is unclear but in many cases ME starts after a viral illness or after severe stress. The main symptom is fatigue following minimal physical or mental exertion. ME can last for up to three years.
A child with ME may:
- have severe muscle or joint pain and headaches that don’t respond to painkillers
- have erratic sleep patterns (sometimes sleeping all the time or hardly at all)
- have a sore throat and/or enlarged lymph glands
- suffer with skin rashes or numbness
- feel sensitivity to noise, bright light and hot or cold temperatures
- lose their appetite and have some bowel problems
- suffer loss of concentration and have short-term memory and word finding difficulties
- become irritable and frustrated
- have problems coping with any physical activity eg. walking, writing, speaking, singing.
Children who are severely affected will often need home tuition until they improve sufficiently to make a phased return to school.
You may need to:
- offer part-time attendance at school
- facilitate regular rest periods in a quiet place
- provide an adult mentor to listen to the child’s anxieties
- use circletime to talk about issues surrounding ME
- ensure that classroom tasks are short and clearly defined
- make flexible arrangements for PE lessons and for playtimes if necessary.
Action for ME (AfME)
Association of Young People with ME (AYME)