Meningitis survivors need educational support

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Children who survive meningitis are at increased risk of experiencing problems with mental health, communication and memory, and they should be routinely assessed for educational support. These are the claims of a new campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the long-term effects of the disease, launched by the Meningitis Trust.

Building on new research, the Meningitis Changes Futures campaign says that children who survive meningococcal disease (a form of meningitis) are five times more likely to have speech, communication and hearing problems and are four times more likely to have mental health problems than those who have not contracted the disease. They are also six times more likely to have epilepsy and are at a significantly greater risk of having problems with memory and IQ.

There are around 2,500 reported cases of bacterial meningitis each year in the UK, with children under five accounting for almost half of all cases. One in ten people with the disease die as a result, and one in four survivors have some form of after-effect. While some suffer obvious problems, such as loss of limbs and blindness, others – who may appear to have made a full recovery – are left with psychological and neurological problems that can go unrecognised.

Sue Davie, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Trust, argues that parents who have watched their child fight for his/her life can be involved in an additional battle to get the right educational support for their child. “Recognition of the needs of these children should be a right, not a lottery”, she says.

Further information about the campaign is available at:
www.meningitis-trust.org

SEN News Team
Author: SEN News Team

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