You and Your IHP

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 12:00

All schools, colleges and universities have a duty to support young people with epilepsy.

To fully support you they need to have the most up to date information about your epilepsy and how it affects you.

Whether you are starting a new school, college or university or going back to one that knows you, you should arrange to talk to a member of staff about the support you might need. Having all this information recorded in one document should stop you having to explain your epilepsy to lots of different teachers, lecturers and support staff.

In school this document is called an individual healthcare plan (IHP) and should include information about your seizures, what to do in an emergency and how your epilepsy and any medication you are taking might affect your learning, emotions and behaviour. At college or university, this document might be called an individual learning plan (ILP) or learning support plan (LSP).

Every young person with epilepsy should have an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP), setting out information about their condition and the support they need to be safe and included at school.

The IHP should describe their seizures, how their condition is best managed, and the impact it has on their learning and behaviour, including any medication side effects. A clear emergency protocol must also be included, including when an ambulance should be called. 

The IHP should be developed jointly between the school, young person, parents and healthcare professionals. The responsibility for its implementation remains with the school and the IHP should clearly set out who will deliver which aspects of support.

As epilepsy can be a fluctuating condition, IHPs should be reviewed annually, or sooner if circumstances have changed. Parents should be reminded to keep the school informed of any changes in seizure activity, medication or behaviour.

An IHP is needed even if seizures are currently controlled by treatment. Seizures may reoccur and the young person’s condition may still be having an impact on their learning and behaviour.

As a minimum, the IHP should include:

  • The diagnosis, a brief description of seizure type(s), including any possible triggers and any signs that a seizure might be about to occur
  • Basic management of seizures/seizure first aid
  • Current medication including dosage
  • Emergency protocol
  • Impact on learning and behaviour (utilising the ABLE Tool)
  • Circumstances that require additional consideration/risk assessment
  • Reasonable adjustments required including consideration of the physical environment, curriculum, exams etc.
  • Additional training required, which may include administration of emergency medication
  • Written permission from the parents and headteacher for any medication to be administered during the school day/school activities
  • Communication protocol, who needs to know and what they need to know.

Take a look at our template of an Individual Healthcare Plan

Everyone’s epilepsy is different and so is the support that you will need. You may need additional time to complete work, a mentor to support you emotionally or additional technology, resources to support your learning or ‘break out’ time and space. All this should be included on the plan. You can find out more about the sort of support you can get here.

Find out who the best person is to speak to. As well as your teacher or tutor, there should be a SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) or Inclusion Leader at your school. At your college or Uni, you may find a Disability Adviser, Additional Learning Support Co-ordinator or Specialist Learning Support lead working with pastoral and wellbeing specialists in the Student Services department. Make sure you know who to speak to if your epilepsy, medication or support needs change as the IHP or ILP will need to be updated to reflect any changes.

It is really important that you let them know how your condition and mental health has been affected by Covid-19. Lots of young people will be anxious about what life in an educational setting will look like with Covid-19 safety measures in place. As stress and anxiety are recognised triggers for some people’s seizures, make sure you talk through any concerns that you may have and what you can do if you are worried when you are on and around campus. 

Your school, college or university should arrange for staff to be trained to be able to support you. Try our free online training for educational professionals here.

Young Epilepsy have developed the Epilepsy Friendly mark to recognise those universities and higher education settings who have shown they have a good understanding of epilepsy and its impact on young people. Settings that have been awarded the mark have undertaken training and are doing more to support their students. You can see the list of unis and colleges that have been awarded the Epilepsy Friendly mark here and find the contact details for a member of their support staff who can support you through your transition and your higher education.