As parents of kids with Migraine may feel the need to protect them from Migraine triggers and stigma. This is a natural, healthy instinct. Unfortunately, we can’t protect our kids all the time. We spent a lot of time away from our children. Between school, sports, music, church activities, and summer camp, our kids are frequently out of our immediate care. That doesn’t mean we can’t advocate for them. In fact, it’s essential that we communicate our children’s special needs to teachers, coaches, non-custodial parents, and other caregivers. The adults charged with caring for our children need to be informed.
Steps to advocate for our kids
- Create a Migraine Management Action Plan, and ask their Migraine specialist to sign it. Make copies to share with all adults who care for our kids.
- Help them build Migraine Attack Packs filled with comforting items that ease the discomfort of a Migraine attack while they wait for their abortive to stop it.
- Ask the pharmacist to split prescription medication into more than one container so medication can be stored at school, daycare, or other locations without risk of losing the entire supply.
- If non-custodial and step-parents are involved in our children’s care, have a frank conversation to ensure that all adults understand your child’s Migraine needs and are working together.
- 504 Plans and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are sometimes necessary for students with Migraine. If our children struggle in school because of Migraine, we may consider requesting and evaluation for special education services at school.
- Educate yourself about pediatric Migraine. Kids are not miniature adults. The treatments they need are often different from those for adults with Migraine.
- Teach them about Migraine. Raising a child with Migraine requires us to encourage personal responsibility and age-appropriate independent disease management. Even very young children can learn to ask for help when they sense a Migraine attack starting. By elementary school, children can understand the concept of triggers. Teens can be taught to take proactive measures such as trigger avoidance, adequate sleep, hydration, exercise, meditation, and healthy eating habits.
Our children need us to speak for them sometimes. At other times, we must encourage them to speak up for themselves. Striking a healthy balance is just part of our job as parents. When our kids observe us talking about Migraine in a confident, matter-of-fact manner, they learn to adopt a healthy attitude toward managing their Migraine disease.