Authorities failing child ME sufferers

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The Independent Online
Children who suffer from a debilitating fatigue condition are getting a poor deal from the education system, a survey has revealed. Although more than 50 per cent of all long-term sickness absence from school is due to the chronic fatigue syndrome Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or ME, only a quarter of home tutors were given information of how the condition affects youngsters, according to research by the charity Action for ME.

The charity's chiefs have claimed that the lack of understanding about the condition which affects 25,000 school children in the UK could be putting their education at risk. The survey of 70 local education authorities revealed many home tutors were unaware that the condition affects memory and concentration, making learning exhausting and difficult.

Martin Arber, chair of Action for ME, said: "Only 25 per cent of home tutors receive any information about ME from either the school or local education authority.

"Without a broad understanding of the illness it would be very easy for a tutor to push a child too hard causing a relapse lasting weeks. ME is a fluctuating condition and the child's ability to learn can change from day to day."