Better supporting secondary school children with hemiplegia

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Secondary school education pack

A clinical expert in child movement disorders at Oxford Brookes has collaborated with charity HemiHelp to produce guidelines for teachers to better support secondary school students with hemiplegia.

Hemiplegia is a lifelong impairment caused by injury to the brain. It affects movement on one side of the body to a varying degree, and can also cause other less visible effects such as epilepsy, specific learning difficulties, anxiety or challenging behaviour.

It is one of the most common forms of physical impairment in childhood and affects approximately one in 1000 children.

Secondary Education Pack: The student with hemiplegia in secondary school, was put together by HemiHelp, a charity which supports both children and adults with the condition. Contributors included members of the charity, education experts and teachers, parents, psychologists and most importantly secondary school children with the condition.

The young students provided so many great ideas and suggestions, and were also very open in talking about their own personal experiences both positive and negative. They really liked knowing that their input would go on to help others with hemiplegia in schools.

Dr Dido Green, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Dido Green, Reader in Rehabilitation in the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the University invited a mixture of young students with hemiplegia to contribute to the pack.

She said: “I knew the young students already having worked with them on previous programmes. I invited them to contribute as they are the true experts. In group sessions and over email, we discussed ideas and talked about what they felt should be included.

“Children with hemiplegia often have associated difficulties, including epilepsy, emotional effects, challenging  behaviour and visual perception difficulties. As such we wanted this pack to deal with both the practical and emotional aspects of having hemiplegia in school and the support teachers can provide to help integration.

“The young students provided so many great ideas and suggestions, and were also very open in talking about their own personal experiences both positive and negative. They really liked knowing that their input would go on to help others with hemiplegia in schools.

“The result is a highly informative collection of ideas and case studies supporting best practice that is based on real experiences as well as evidence based practice. We hope that it provides a great resource for teachers.”

Ellie Trow, aged 16, from Winchester, Hampshire was one of the students involved, she said: "It was an amazing experience to work with Dido and be able to share tips that I found useful during secondary school. I think this education pack is important because it provides an insight to strategies for making the most of your important years at school. It also provides a range of information to staff at school about hemiplegia which I think makes the large transition a bit easier and reduces stress."

The education pack is available to purchase online from the HemiHelp website

Dr Dido Green will be speaking at HemiHelp's annual conference for professionals in Birmingham on 22 September. The conference will be about developments in hemiplegia management and Dido will be speaking specifically about Brain and Behaviour - what is neuroplasticity and how this influences outcomes for children with hemiplegia.

This year HemiHelp has been celebrating its 25th anniversary, looking back at everything that’s been achieved and the great things they’ll be doing in the future to make sure everyone affected by hemiplegia can fulfil their potential. Find out more about their events and how you can get involved at www.hemihelp.org.uk