Make Scoliosis screening compulsory in all Australian schools

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Please join me in encouraging the Health and Education Ministers in introducing mandatory scoliosis screening in schools.

My name is Leilah, I am 22 and I suffer from scoliosis. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, and has various degrees of severity. It’s a condition that affects approximately 4% of the population, or 1 in every 25 people. Some people can lead normal lives with scoliosis, but others require alternative treatments like bracing, monitoring and in severe cases - surgery (spinal fusion).

This condition particularly develops between the ages of 9 and 16, and females are 10 times more likely to develop the condition. School screening should be made mandatory because early detection has been shown to increase the effectiveness of treatment. This would incur only a small cost to train a staff member at each school to be able to carry out the basic "Forward Bend" test.

This condition has affected my life significantly. I feel pain and discomfort every day, and I know many others who have pain associated with the condition. I believe that early intervention would have improved my quality of life. I created this petition to raise awareness and ensure that students are educated about this in the early stages. Having mandatory screening in schools is the perfect solution to target scoliosis at a point in time where treatment is most effective.

Currently, there is nothing in place that will educate young people about the signs of scoliosis and what to look out for. This is troublesome because if the condition goes undetected, early treatments, such as back bracing, can be deemed ineffective. Once a young person reaches around 15/16 years of age their spine is often judged to have matured too much for bracing. This happened to me. By the time I was aware of the condition and went to see a specialist, I was told that I brace would not help me as I was too old. This highlights why detecting the condition early is so important.

Early detection allows the condition to be properly monitored, and for action to be taken fast if the curve is progressing. Severe curve progression can cause lung and heart damage, as the rib cage is displaced. Surgery is more effective in adolescents as the healing time is reduced, alleviating problems they may face later in life.

Please join me in encouraging the Health and Education Ministers in introducing mandatory scoliosis screening in schools.

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