The school pupil with ITP
The majority of children with ITP feel well despite a low platelet count, and it is rare for them to need emergency medical treatment. They may require regular hospital visits for blood counts and/or treatment review, but most children or teenagers with ITP should cause little or no impact on classroom routine. Click on Childhood ITP or Teenage ITP to learn more about how ITP may affect your pupil.
How schools can support the pupil with ITP
On request we supply a School Information Pack which includes a Pupil’s Factsheet (for completion by pupil or parents) which can be pinned up in the staff room to alert all teachers to the constraints of this condition.
Some primary schools who feel they do not have adequate staff to supervise ITP pupils in the playground, allow the pupil to stay in and use a computer or play board games with a well-behaved friend.
As contact sports are not advised, the sports department may need to offer an alternative activity (referee, assistant referee etc). The pupil should not be left shivering on the side lines seeing everyone else having fun! ITP pupils, particularly teenage girls, may be embarrassed about bruises that are more difficult to hide when wearing sports kit.
The teachers, office staff or matron responsible for the school’s first aid are advised to read our booklet Guidelines for Schools, Clubs and Playgroups (included in our school info pack) to understand what symptoms the pupil is likely to have, when they should call the parents and the rare circumstances when the pupil should be taken to A&E or an ambulance called.
It is helpful for the headteacher, class teacher or head of year to meet with the parents to ascertain whether the pupil has severe or mild ITP, if the pupil is having treatment, how often the pupil is likely to have a hospital appointment etc.
ITP is a very worrying condition for parents, and most are happier if they know that the school will err on the side of caution and call them if there is any concern about the pupil.
Girls with ITP may have extremely heavy periods that sometimes last for a couple of weeks. It can be helpful for a female teacher or office staff member to be appointed as someone the pupil can approach if they run into difficulties. Girls with ITP are advised to carry a small bag with spare pads, and spare pants, but nevertheless they can feel poorly and fearful of getting caught out with flooding.
Schools need to be sensitive to the fact that other parents may notice the ITP pupil has excessive bruising and be suspicious about domestic violence.
Can your school help our cause?
The ITP Support Association is always grateful for funding to help us continue our work in supporting people with ITP and funding research.
Can your school help us by holding a fundraising event such as a non-uniform day in aid of ITP?