Help For ME & CFS Sufferers To Study

For many young people suffering from ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), attending school can be a real problem. The illness can result in long periods of absence and make completing work and achieving good grades difficult.

The Nisai Virtual Academy (NVA) is a fantastic new way to learn and helps many students every year with ME to continue and succeed in their learning.

NVA is an award winning online learning community. It enables young people who experience problems attending mainstream school or college to participate in high quality education, socialise safely online with other students and access specialist support.

Funding is available for students in the north east wishing to study at the NVA who are aged 16 or over. The funding is available through a partnership between East Durham College and the NVA.

With a standard computer and internet access students can study from any location, including their own home. This style of learning provides many benefits for young people with ME including:

• Live collaborative lessons with subject specialist teachers and fellow students
• A wide choice of courses and qualification options
• The ability to watch recordings of all lessons 24 hours a day if there is anything you miss
• Safe and secure social networking and online group activities
• Access to assignments and course material available 24 hours a day
• Manageable 30 minute lessons and a timetable that suits you
• Flexible support designed to meet your needs on an individual basis

Two local students to recently start using the NVA are Samantha, aged 17 from Ushaw Moor, who is using it to study Key Skills (English, Maths and ICT) and Georgia, aged 19 from Darlington, who is studying an ICT & Business Studies course.

Andrew, a GCSE Student who has been using NVA, said: “I was diagnosed with ME when I was 7 and since then have been too ill to attend school. A big problem I face is pacing myself and the NVA is flexible to suit the way I work.

“My favourite thing about the NVA is that it brings me as close to the classroom experience as I could imagine. The staff are really friendly, it’s easy to use and the closest you’ll get to a school in your living room!

“The hardest part of not going to school is not being able to socialise with others so NVA is a great way to get to talk to other people your own age.

I’ve never had a proper working experience like this and I’m delighted that I’ve been able to succeed with flying colours. The NVA would be one of the first things I’d recommend to people who couldn’t go to school or college”.