Learn about symptomatic hypermobility including the definition, signs and symptoms, from the founder and chair of SEDSConnective.org, Jane Green MBE FCCT.

What is it?

Students can be hypermobile with no symptoms. However, some are symptomatic – impacting on their learning and attendance. They have a difference in the collagen of their connective tissue which can be found throughout the body. This tissue is weak/lax, which can affect the joints but also systems like the lymphatic system, vascular system, the autonomic nervous system, as well as organs. The term ‘double-jointed’ was previously used to describe hypermobility. There are formal diagnoses for students too, like pgHSD pgJH EDS.

What to look for

Do you have a student with muscle pain and joint pain, brain fog or dizziness, reflux/ stomach issues, floppy posture and difficulty holding themselves up, skin differences (thin, almost translucent skin with bruising or thick velvety skin), headaches or extreme tiredness? These could all be signs that your student has a hypermobility spectrum disorder, particularly if you are noticing unexplained symptoms or conditions.

Neurodivergence and physical conditions

Neurodivergent children and young people can have a number of co-occurring physical conditions (particularly Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia/DCD and Tourette’s syndrome). These physical conditions can often be overlooked and misdiagnosed.

Without listening to their voices, those affected are at risk of further trauma and can learn to mask physical health issues and pain, leading to further symptoms which has a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.

There is no cure for symptomatic hypermobility but education, support and management are key for mental and physical wellbeing.

There is no cure for symptomatic hypermobility but education, support and management are key for mental and physical wellbeing.

Symptoms seen in neurodivergent children and young people with symptomatic hypermobility and how they will often appear.<br />
Headaches, insomnia, eye discomfort, ear ache, tooth decay; often presents as dizziness, tiredness, inattention, brain fog.  Dysautonomia, vomiting, reflux, GERD, GORD, TMJ, Dysphagia; often presents as anxiety, eating disorders, palpitations, eczema, hayfever, rhinitis. Abdominal pain, allergies, and MCAS, IBS; often presents as holding stomach, toileting issues, anxiety. Sprains, muscle spasm, instability, joint hypermobility; often presents as clumsiness, poor coordination, fidgeting. Bruising, very thin or think skin, wheals, inflammation; joint pain, bruises, scars, rashes, stretch marks, lumps and swelling.

Break

Review

Adapt

Voice

Empathy

Author

  • Jane Green MBE

    Jane is a former assistant headteacher, autism lead, LA advisory teacher and now the founder and chair of SEDSConnective, a charity for neurodiversity and symptomatic hypermobility. She is a non-executive director and co-author of the peer-reviewed paper ‘Co-Occurring Physical Health Challenges in Neurodivergent Children and Young People’.
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