July 25, 2023

Congresswoman Bush Requests Administration Issue Eligibility Guidance for Students with Chronic Headache Disorders

Washington D.C. (July 25, 2023) — Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) led her colleagues in a letter to the Department of Education requesting guidance be issued to school districts to ensure that students with chronic headache disorders are receiving adequate accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act. With migraines as the second leading cause of global disability, millions of children in our country suffer from disabling forms of headache disorders that can limit their performances in school.


“Addressing this issue with a guidance memorandum will have a positive impact on not just children with migraine and other headache disorders but also, other health conditions that are similarly excluded from IDEA statutory and regulatory language,” wrote the lawmakers. “By issuing a formal guidance statement, the Department of Education can assist both children and school districts alike, by clarifying that the eligibility list under the “Other Health Impairments” category is non-exhaustive and that it is improper to deny special education services if a relevant condition is not explicitly listed. Instead, school districts have an obligation to look at the way in which a chronic or acute health condition, such as chronic migraine or other headache disorders, impact the child’s educational performance.”

A copy of this letter can be found HERE.

Additional co-signers of this letter include Representatives Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Dan Goldman (NY-10), Daniel Kildee (MI-08), Andy Kim (NJ-03), John B. Larson (CT-01), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Seth Magaziner (RI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), and Terri A. Sewell (AL-07).

“Severe headache disorders can significantly disrupt a child's education, but thankfully access to tailored special education services can help to mitigate these disruptions, enabling a more effective and inclusive education experience. The Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy deeply appreciates Representative Cori Bush's advocacy, leadership, and dedication to the over one million children living with these often-disabling conditions, and we urge the Department of Education to heed her call to action to ensure school districts across the country have a better understanding of the severity of these conditions,” said Julienne Verdi, Executive Director of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy.

Congresswoman Bush is an advocate for peoples with disabilities in several spaces. Last September, Congresswomen Bush alongside Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the Reproductive Health Care Accessibility Act, legislation that would eliminate barriers and strengthen access to reproductive health care for people with disabilities.