- Impact In School
Lyme Disease and Impact In School
Lyme Disease and Impact In School
Children with chronic symptoms, can suffer not only physically but academically as well. Neurological, psychiatric and cognitive symptoms can greatly impair their ability to learn and grow in the classroom. Adolescents may struggle socially, unable to connect with their peers or participate, as they once could, in extracurricular activities.
The impact these symptoms can have on a child should not be underestimated. Tager et al. described 20 children, ages 8 to 16, with “marked fatigue (100%), arthralgias (100%), frequent and severe headaches (100%), irritability/depression (94%), short-term memory problems (94%), schoolwork deterioration (94%), myalgias (88%), brain fog (88%), neck pain (88%), insomnia (82%), distractibility (82%), word-finding problems (82%), severe flu (80%), sensory hyperacusis to sound (58%) and/or light (74%); insomnia (77%); and radicular pains (56%)” despite antibiotic treatment.
In one study, children with Lyme disease reported more “learning and attention problems, feelings of ineffectiveness, and mood problems” than controls. McAuliffe et al. described 25 adolescents with “significant deficits in cognition (short-term visual memory, short-term and delayed verbal memory, all forms of recognition memory), as well as worse attendance, grades, and subjective reports of memory problems” that were far worse than controls.
In order to achieve their academic goals, children and adolescents may need their school to make special accommodations. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Individualized Education Program, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has been implemented to help children with Lyme disease. Other accommodations may include, shorter school days, untimed tests, alternative testing methods, separate/quieter testing locations, modified home instruction programs, and elimination of unnecessary requirements.
References – Impact In School
- Tager FA, Fallon BA, Keilp J, Rissenberg M, Jones CR, Liebowitz MR. A controlled study of cognitive deficits in children with chronic Lyme disease. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci, 13(4), 500-507 (2001).
- McAuliffe P, Brassard MR, Fallon B. Memory and executive functions in adolescents with posttreatment Lyme disease. Appl Neuropsychol, 15(3), 208-219 (2008).
The incidence of Lyme disease in children is growing despite efforts for greater awareness and prevention. According to the CDC, the highest infection rates occur in children, ages 5 to 9. Overall, the disease is most common among boys, ages 5-19. Each year, at least 300,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Lyme disease, 25% of those are children, ages 5 to 9. learn more →
Lyme disease can cause persistent symptoms that reflect multi-organ involvement, with episodes of active disease and periods of remission. The same capability, of microorganisms to cause and exacerbate neuropsychiatric pathology, is also seen in Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS). learn more →
If a woman is bitten by a deer tick or contracts Lyme disease while pregnant, it’s important that she immediately alert her treating physician. There have been poor outcomes described for newborns whose mothers contracted Lyme disease during pregnancy. learn more →