Page last updated at 08:58 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 09:58 UK

Asthmatic children 'missing out'

Young girl using an asthma inhaler
Asthma UK Cymru want schools to have an asthma policy in place

Teachers' pre-conceptions about asthma are causing children with the condition to "miss out", a report has revealed.

Half of the children spoken to for the report said their asthma meant they had problems joining in lessons and going on school trips, Asthma UK Cymru said.

As part of World Asthma Day, the charity has organised for sufferers to speak to AMs in Cardiff Bay about care changes they think should be made.

Asthma affects 59,000 children in Wales, which is one in nine children.

According to the UK-wide Missing Out report, almost 75% of the children questioned said they had problems joining in with physical education lessons and 40% said their asthma stopped them having fun.

Jessica Hayes, 15, from Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, said teachers would not know what to do if she had an attack at her school.

Full access

"They don't seem to understand the condition," she said.

"They've even told me not to take part in the school sport teams before because I am off a lot and they don't want somebody who will miss matches and training sessions in the team."

The charity wants schools to implement recommendations in a report which will shortly be launched by the assembly government, which aims to ensure full access to education for children with medical conditions.

Asthma UK Cymru also want all schools to ensure they have an asthma policy in place and that all school staff are familiar with it and their responsibilities for implementing it.

Teachers and others who care for children should get better training and support for dealing with asthma, said the charity, and every school should have access to a school nurse.

'Hot spots'

Asthma UK Cymru national director John Mathias said: "We would like there be clear guidelines for teachers, so they would know what to do in the event of an asthma attack.

"[Asthma] is only too common. It is a very real experience. One-in-nine children in Wales have asthma, five children a day are admitted to hospital."

The youth conference at the Senedd on Tuesday will see children and young people, including those from asthma 'hot spots' across Wales, visiting the Senedd to speak with their AMs about what changes they want to see in place to improve the care they receive.

They will also have the opportunity to question Education Minister Jane Hutt about the asthma care they receive at school.

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