Jump to content


Educating Teachers About Narcolepsy

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Audrey Kindred

Audrey Kindred


  • Members
  • 5 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NYC
  • Interests:Movement, Dream Process, Healing Work, Arts.

Posted 28 April 2008 - 06:24 PM

I am interested in talking to teachers about narcolepsy and more broadly, how to deal with a sleepy student in school -- and help them learn, instead of... well, ignoring them, punishing them, embarrassing them, feeling insulted by them.
So, I'd like to invite you all to tell stories of teachers who helped you cope with your narcolepsy in school -- whether or not they knew it.
My story is about Rod Madore, my seventh grade Social Studies Teacher. A gal near me fell asleep during a work session and she started snoring right there at her desk. He put his hand on her shoulder and said to the snickering students. "We all get tired in school and so, there's no reason to laugh. Let's learn from it instead. I'll teach you all how to meditate because whenever you feel tired this is a great way to regain your focus and be ready for learning again..... and he did." All my life, I used the simple tools he taught that day: "Rub your hands together to warm your palms, put palms over eyes and focus the mind on a point in the middle of the desk, and simply breath in, and breath out, etc. " This was my life-saver until I later pursued more movement trainging, and found yoga -- and relearned these simple tools again as an adult!

#2 Flaming Tiki

Flaming Tiki


  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 16 May 2008 - 12:39 PM

Wow, I could go on for a good hour about your topic...both good and bad experiences. One of my favorite though is about my brother who decided to return to college for a teaching certificate. His class was discussing how to handle kids who not only acted out but those who would flat out do anything but pay attention...and the "sleepers" came up. My brother snipped that one in the bud real quick as I had just been diagnosed and he knew how I was struggling with courses. There is always the good possibility that things going on with students is medical. Another good example of that is the one teacher whose name I've forgotten but I have not forgotten him. I had a class that was split by the lunch period and my teacher caught me as we were leaving for the next class. "Are you a diabetic?," he asked. "No, but my parents think there is something wrong because I sleep too much after school and track." He then told me his wife was a diabetic and the way I acted in class, before lunch I was very attentive and participated in class discussion (we sat in a circle in this class) and then after lunch he said my eyes would glaze over and it was as though I wasn't there, reminded him of his wife's battles with food/sugar. It was because of him I finally agreed to my parents and seeing a physician! I had a couple teachers go the opposite route though, and unfortunately I won't forget them either. However, I think it's important that teachers keep in mind that kids have lives outside of school and there may be things going on that not only cause them to act out but to regress within...even sleep. AND there is that Possibility that there are medical problems going on...it's hard sometimes to tell teachers/professors you might be nodding in and out of their lectures. It can not be all put on the teacher to 'figure' out what works best for that student...the student has to take it upon themselves to know how to survive in a classroom environment. I got over being shy and quiet about it in college. If you need help, speak up! I looked to my friends and classmates for the assistance I needed though I know there are programs set up to help students with learning disabilites...which this falls under I believe. My college art history class was entertaining for Many reasons...but I think I provided my bit of comic relief as well...the lights would go out for slides and I'd turn to my friends and say "wake me when its over." smile.gif ...man studying for those slide tests was brutal! *LOL*

#3 sarahlue



  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Houston, TX

Posted 01 August 2008 - 09:36 PM

Great topic! I am a high school teacher and I have narcolepsy with cataplexy. When I was 14 and in high school my French teacher would complain that after lunch I was always falling asleep in class and one day she asked me if I was on drugs. I thought this was funny b/c even to this day I have never touched an illegal drug. When I told my mom what my teacher had asked me she took me to get my thyroid checked out, along with a drug test, but she didn't tell me about that until I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy at 25...gotta love those over protective moms though! When the tests came back all ok we just brushed it off as being overloaded with school and extracurricular activities. Years later, a family friend suggested I get tested for Narc. and I am glad I did. Getting back to the topic, I few years ago there was a student who was diagnosed with narc. and he would get in trouble for falling asleep in class. His parents informed all his teachers about his narcolepsy but the teachers would assume he didn't take his medication and it was his fault. I was a new teacher at the time and I didn't want to butt my head in - but I wish I would have! I now try and get all the teachers to realize that most narcoleptics are not diagnosed until years after their first symptoms begin - and most start when they are teens. In my own classes, when I start seeing my students get sleepy I get everyone to stand up and do jumping jacks or another activity where they are moving around. It not only helps me but it gets them awake! I try and incorporate something that gets them out of their seats everyday in class - it seems to work!

#4 Mirianda



  • Members
  • 62 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Gatineau

Posted 06 November 2009 - 03:03 PM

In my case, I was in Cegep (college) and I was always falling asleep in all of my classes. I didn't know at that time and I guess I didn't want to know but my grades were horrible. I fell asleep in exams, classes, doing homework and well almost everywhere. Even at my music practices... Quite horrible. I got diagnosed after failing my first 2 semesters. At the third I was so depressed (has just lost 1 of my friends and after the lost of another I thought I was alone) and I quit. But back to the story, between my 2nd and 3rd semester I got diagnosed. I went to get checked because my French teacher told my (I had her for my first and second semester) that she knew I was motivated and knew that I wanted to pass but I was sleeping and she knew I wasn't much of a partyer. So I got checked (took half of the semester) and at the end I wasn't lazy like my philisophy teacher thought. I still am struggling working full time and have accounting classes at night but my concentration isn't there. energy neither :( Next thing homeschooling

#5 Lais02



  • Members
  • 295 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Minnesota

Posted 07 November 2009 - 12:27 AM

My college art history class was entertaining for Many reasons...but I think I provided my bit of comic relief as well...the lights would go out for slides and I'd turn to my friends and say "wake me when its over." <img src="http://narcolepsynet...IR#>/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> ...man studying for those slide tests was brutal! *LOL*

I'm taking art history right now for the fourth time. I've failed it 3 times. 2 of those were before I was diagnosed. I'm happy and shocked to report that my midterm grade was an A-. :) This will be my last art history class lol. Maybe PWN's should be excused from art history. It just doesn't seem fair to put us in a dark room looking at slides and then expecting us to stay awake.