You cannot be expected to be an expert in every illness but M.E. is a common cause of absenteeism – and it is an illness still plagued by myths – so it is important to understand the realities.
Children, young people and adults who have M.E. do not necessarily look ill.
The severity of symptoms can vary, from person to person and on a day by day, week by week or hour by hour basis.
This can lead to misunderstandings which, in rare cases, may escalate to the point where child protection proceedings are initiated.
The Association of Young People with ME (AYME) has produced a two-part DVD for teachers and pupils, called Understanding M.E., which includes a teacher’s book and worksheets for a planned lesson.
Action for M.E. publications, All about M.E.: symptoms and management and Pacing for people with M.E., have been written in association with healthcare professionals and are widely used.
AYME and Action for M.E. have produced Child protection guidance for professionals working in education, health and social services in England and Wales, which aims to dispel the myths and clarify issues relating to the diagnosis, management and care pathway for the illness.