Don’t Ignore Headaches in Kids and Teens – 504 Plan for Migraines


Hi, I’m Deborah. And I’m Lawrence. And so today we’re going to talk about headaches
in kids and teens. We, we, usually – most of our videos are for
kids and teens, and this one actually is for parents as well as kids and teens because
this is something – the diagnosis and treatment of headaches obviously involves the parents
as well as the, as the kid. So, the reason we started thinking about this
was actually two reasons. One is because anxiety among kids and teens
is getting much more prevalent. And obviously, there’s at least one type of
headache – tension headaches – that is caused, to a great extent, by anxiety and stress. Another kind, migraines, is usually exacerbated
by, by stress and anxiety So, the other reason we decided to do this
is because Lawrence was recently diagnosed with migraines. This was not a huge surprise, because my mother
and I both suffered from headaches. So, you know, 80-90% of kids who are diagnosed
with migraines have a relative who also had them. So, so this was a really long process, the
diagnosis – Especially the drive to the clinic. Yeah. Um, we’re lucky because we live in the San
Francisco Bay Area and one of the best, you know, one of the best center or areas for
medicine in general is, is UCSF, so that’s where Lawrence was treated. So, we thought we’d talk about the process,
to some extent, and also what’s really important is getting a 504 plan, because if you’re a
kid or a teen who has headaches, then school is a really significant part of your life,
and your headaches are going to have an impact on your schoolwork and vice versa. So, I had been getting migraines for a while,
but for a long time it was just, you know, normal headaches. And then for a while, it was just my head
constantly hurt, but it was like, pretty weak and then it would spike. And that’s about where I am now, but it’s
been getting, you know, worse in like, the amount of pain. And it sucks, because I’ll just be like, you
know, chilling and actually doing work for once. Just out of nowhere my head starts hurting. And you know, it’s not as easy to focus on
writing a English paper while my head is pounding like somebody’s taking a jackhammer to the
inside of it. So it really is not at all like, helpful. It sucks, honestly. I hate it, and I’m really glad that, you know,
I was able to, you know, get medications that can control it when I have a migraine. Because you know, it’s better to have something
that can control them then you know, be constantly having migraines and have nothing to control
it and – yeah, I’m glad. Also, it still sucks. Well, I think something also to point out
is that you are – so, you saw not only a pediatric neurologist who specialized in headaches,
but also a psychologist. So, the – Yes folks, you heard it – headache psychologist. Yes. So the approach for treating migraines, and
I think probably also for treating headaches in children is not – in children, you know
kids and teens – is not just medication. And actually, in some cases may not start
with medication. So there – it’s more of a holistic type of
treatment because – what happens is, is – basically they – one doctor I saw described it as trying
to calm down your overly sensitive brain. So certain things can trigger migraines and
so you want to, to some extent, make your brain less likely to get triggered by those
things by, for instance, getting – uh, having a regular sleep schedule, getting enough sleep
and having a balanced and regular diet – and especially eating breakfast. So…what do you think the chances are you’re
gonna do those things? Uh, zero. Yeah. So, um, I thought we’d throw that out there,
even, even though we’re not anticipating this being a big part of Lawrence’s treatment without
a lot of – Honestly, I cannot for the life of me maintain
a good sleep schedule. My eating habits are a mess and I’m constantly
stressed out because of school. So yeah – migraines, I think I should have
– like, accept as a fact of life for me, honestly. That kind of sucks, but whatever Well, um, so anyway. But just so you know, then, then it’s, it’s,
it’s not just – if you get, if you get diagnosed with headaches, that the only thing that’s
gonna happen is you’re going to be given medication. Um, nowadays that’s, that’s not the case anymore. It’s, um, it’s, it’s, as I said, a much
more holistic approach looking at a lot of different things. So as I was looking around a little more and
getting some information about headaches, one article I ran into was kind of frightening
in a way. It was directed toward parents, and it said
you know, if your child has headaches, these are the things you need to do. And it talked about some of the things that
Lawrence’s doctors talked about: sleep schedule, eating well, lowering stress. There’s a huge problem with that. The first thing that should happen, parents
– if your child has headaches that are chronic headaches and have been going on – well, that
are unusual in any way or if they going on a while – and bear in mind I am NOT a doctor
in any way shape or form – you go to the pediatrician, you take your child to the pediatrician, you
get your child diagnosed by a doctor – the problem with this article is, it’s basically
saying you can diagnose your own child, don’t bother going to a doctor. I don’t think that’s what – how they meant
to make it sound – That’s stupid. But it was kind of appalling that they didn’t
say, “If your child has headaches, the first thing you want to do is take them to the doctor.” That’s really stupid, because you know,
sure, you may think, “Oh headaches aren’t hard to diagnose.” Your head hurts – headache. No – go see a doctor. Yes, it’s complicated. Go see a doctor. Seriously, dude. The other thing is, if your child – parents
– if your child has a headache after a head injury, immediately go to the doctor, if not
the emergency room, okay? So this is not something, first of all, that
you should dismiss. Um, sure – everyone has headaches at some
point or another, but it’s not something that should be just brushed aside. It also shouldn’t be something that you are
so afraid of that you don’t take your child to the doctor. Don’t assume – don’t go to the worst, darkest
place and assume that your child has something like a brain tumor, because that’s very, very
rare, okay? So don’t let a fear like that, um, stop you
or paralyze you so that you don’t take your child to the doctor. Cause then, you know… There’s no time, there’s no time to wait. Then it sucks. Why don’t you talk about how – your headaches
– how your teachers last year reacted to how you behaved during your, your headaches. When you, when you can stop yawning. Because of your lack of sleep. I wish you were, you weren’t right. But, um, anyways, a lot of them – a lot of
the time I didn’t actually mention it to the teachers. I mostly just stayed quiet and just, you know,
suffered in silence. And they assumed you just were being, um,
uncooperative. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that’s about the case, and when I
did, they were like, “Oh, okay, go get Advil.” I was like, “Ad-Advil doesn’t help me.” Yeah. Um… “Oh, we don’t know what to do then.” Yeah. I mean, I have to say, when my headaches started,
when I was a teenager and I, I started taking more and more – we, I don’t think we had Advil
then – but let’s say, more and more aspirin till I was eventually up to, I think, like
12 aspirin a day. So finally I went to a neurologist. So when your child is taking, you know – when
you, as a kid or teen – or your child, as a parent of a child – is taking, you know,
multiple doses of analgesics or pain killers of some kind, during the day, then it’s gone
on too long, okay? So, um, this is not something – this is kind
of like depression. You cannot – when, when it involves a child
– you cannot get – let it go on too long, because it’s having an impact on their life. So it’s very important to get this treated. Now, if you’re – if you live in an area that
is not – that’s, that you know – as I said, we’re really lucky. There were, were at, you know, an expert,
well-qualified doctors close by for Lawrence to see. Still took a long time, going through the
whole process of getting, getting to see the right people. But it’s worth – even if you have to drive
somewhere and stay overnight – to have your child see the best person in the area. It – you know, assuming that you can afford
it or your insurance will pay for it. Because you don’t have to see the person that
often, right? And, and Lawrence, for instance, is going
to probably have some appointments by, you know, online. So also, do not let the pediatrician tell
you, you know, as I said, brush you off or tell you tthis isn’t important. This is important. This is your life, if you’re the kid, or your
child’s life if you’re the parent. I know we’re all busy, but this, this is really
essential, okay? So one of the best things that came about
from that appointment is these many, many sheets of paper. And one of them was a letter that the, the
– you know, it’s a form letter that the neurologist and the psychologist wrote to Lawrence’s school. So what they did is – so this, this is a letter
you need for a 504 plan. 504 plan, I think, we talked in about in another
video. It shouldn’t be that much of a problem to
get one, because the school doesn’t have to spend money. When they have to spend money for like, an
individualized education plan, a lot of times that involves spending money on the part of
the school district. And they’re probably going to shun that. Yeah. So, so, it’s, it’s a lot more difficult. A 504 is basically, you know, you’re, you’re
saying that, that, that – I have stuff going on. Please me – like, uh, give me help when needed. Yeah. I mean, so for instance, some of the, you
know – they have – this is like a – yeah, so like a one and a half page letter. So they give – you know, um, they said, “Please
initiate a 504 plan to include the following,” and then they have a list of – they’re not
really suggestions. They are directives. So they’re saying, “This is what the school
needs to do.” Um, one thing I thought was really interesting
is they said, “Lawrence has been encouraged to distract himself when he has a migraine.” So they said, “He may appear to laugh or
engage with peers even during a flare-up. Distraction is encouraged behavior by his
treatment team.” So just little things like that, so that they
wouldn’t say – you know a teacher or administrator wouldn’t say, “He says he’s having a migraine. Why is he talking to his friends?” So something like that where, you know, things
that will diminish the school’s – you know, the likelihood that the school will respond
by thinking he’s malingering, you know, he’s faking it or whatever. Little things like allowing him to extra time
to complete assignments. Things like, I think they were also talking
about having the school not, not schedule a class for you first thing, to get to have,
like a free period for your first thing. Things like, you know, “We recommend that
his teachers limit the amount of homework he receives to only the volume needed to demonstrate
the learning of the material.” Um, for instance, they said “It is recommended
that Lawrence be permitted to take breaks during the day to cope with his migraine in
a quiet room where he can practice his coping skills.” You know, “If at the onset or worsening
of headache, please allow him to take his acute medications and rest in a safe and quiet
area.” “If desired, please provide pairing with
a peer who would be willing and able to share notes.” So it’s, it’s really important that you, you
get the diagnosis, get the letter you need for the 504 plan. Then you give it to the school and, and the
parents meet with them to, um to – you know, it’s a very official process. So you, like, you know, officially ask for
these accommodations. So this is, this is something that if, if
you, or you as the kid or teen, or you know, if you’re the parent – this, have to realize
this is really important to get this taken care of. I know when I have a headache, I can’t think
about anything else. I – It’s hard for me to focus. You can’t use your brain. It hurts to use your brain. It’s hard for me to focus when I’m having
a migraine. Yeah. And impair my ability to actually do work. The other thing you realize is there are different
kinds of migraines. So Lawrence, for instance, doesn’t have
the aura that precede a migraine. The definition of migraine has now been expanded
beyond what it used to be. So, so, you, you may not realize you have
a migraine or you – if you’re the parent of a kid with headaches, may not realize that
these are migraines. So, um, please realize that this is not, you
know, what you think of is someone being unable to move, unable to bear any light. That’s not necessarily – if it’s, that’s not,
not – if that doesn’t track with what’s going on, that doesn’t mean it’s not a migraine. And if it might not be a migraine, it might
be chronic headaches, tension headaches, and again, that’s why we’re talking about this
on this channel. Because it’s, it’s exacerbated or caused by
stress and anxiety and tension. And so, this is something that’s not going
to get better, because it feeds into each other. So the headache makes it harder to do schoolwork
and then, and then you – Not doing work stresses you out. Right, so – Which brings on more migraines. Yeah. So it’s it’s just a vicious cycle. So it’s really important to address this,
to be very firm with, with insisting that, that the situation be referred to a specialist
and also being very firm with the school and – about this being implemented. And, um – because it’s really – could have
a, an unbelievably significant effect on quality of life. And, and you – if you’re the kid, or your
child, if you’re the parent – on the future. So it’s really important to address this. So I’m glad that we finally got it addressed. Anything else you want to add? Nope. So we hope this has been helpful. We, um – if you have any questions or comments,
please leave them below. Obviously we’re, we’re not – as I said, we’re
not medical professionals, but we’re happy to point you toward any information that might
be helpful. I’m going to put links below to, um, to articles
that should be helpful and as I said, I hope this helps. See you next time. Take care.

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