Narcolepsy and education

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Schoolchildren with narcolepsyAlthough narcolepsy can have a major indirect impact on concentration, attention span and short term memory, it does not affect cognition or intelligence directly. However, without measures being taken to mitigate its effects, a diagnosis of narcolepsy may have a significant impact on a student's ability to learn.

Making allowances

It is important to keep teachers and school management informed of the diagnosis. With appropriate allowances made for their sleep disorder, most students can achieve to their full potential. For for children who are diagnosed with narcolepsy, it is important to establish arrangements to make sure they can achieve as much as possible.

For example, measures such as planning naps between classes or at break times, having extra time to complete homework/exams, and/or recording lessons can all be helpful.

Keep your school informed

A key factor in achieving success in your education is ensuring that your school, college or university is fully informed about your condition. Once they know about this, it should be much easier to identify the steps that can be taken to help you.

Learn more

To read more, download our guides to childhood narcolepsy, narcolepsy information for young people, and our guide for teachers.  Our resource article relating to the management of medication in schools may also be useful.

Another helpful resource is this article "Understanding narcolepsy" written by Narcolepsy UK Trustee Henry Nicholls for nasen, the National Association of Special Educational Needs (, and published in their magazine ‘nasen Connect’, edition 13, January 2019. The article is made available here by kind permission of nasen.