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'How can I help?' - M.E. awareness raising in schools

September 12, 2019

Our team in Scotland delivered their first M.E. awareness raising session in schools yesterday. Visiting a secondary school in Ayrshire, Theresa and Avril spoke with 50 young people and their teachers about the condition and discussed how their school community can improve the support they provide to young people with long term health conditions.

This session was created as a development of our ‘How can I help?’ resource which was made to inform teachers about what practical support and adjustments they provide students with M.E./CFS. Yesterday’s event was designed to be interactive and through two different activities, we encouraged students to reflect on what they were learning and ask questions.

Working in groups, the young people were provided with real experiences from young people with M.E. in Scotland have told us about the impact of M.E. on their education and what they wanted their friends and teachers to know.They were asked to read what the young person had written and to discuss this with each other. When we asked their thoughts on what they had read, the students had lots to say about what the young people had missed out on, how they might be feeling and how they could have been better supported.

Following from this, they were asked to imagine that they were a young person with M.E. and to decide how they were going to use their energy that day. Each group were provided with 12 wooden spoons, pens and an activity sheet that explained the Spoon Theory. Their task was to agree on how to use their limited spoons, what they would do and what activities to forgo, and to then explain their decision making to the group.

For many of the young people taking part in this activity helped them to reflect on how simple day-to-day tasks that they took for granted were so huge for young people with M.E. Whilst one group toiled with the emotional impact of not being able to listen to music and play sports, another debated whether socialising with friends was more important than washing their hair. Another group, found it difficult to decide and each made different decisions about their day.

This was one of two awareness-raising sessions that we will be delivering with the school.