Children with epilepsy are more likely to experience difficulties in school. Read on to learn how to help them stay safe and healthy while getting an education.
All parents worry about their children’s well-being, safety, and health but those worries often increase more if you have a child with a medical condition. It is normal for parents who have children that suffer from epilepsy to worry about their children when they go to school. It can cause a lot of stress and anxiety handing the care of your child over to others, especially when they have medical concerns. Here are some tips to help and advocate for when your child with epilepsy goes to school.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes recurring seizures. Often the cause of epilepsy is unknown. It can affect anyone but is more common in children and older adults. Luckily most cases of epilepsy can be controlled with medication.
How Does Epilepsy Affect Children in School?
Epilepsy affects every child differently. Some can participate and easily do what other children without epilepsy do while others struggle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students aged 6 to 17 years old with epilepsy are likely to miss 11 days or more of school per year. These students are more likely to have difficulties in school, use special education services, and have more activity restrictions.1
What Should I Do to Help My Child With Epilepsy In School?
One of the first things you should do to help your child with epilepsy in school is talk with their doctor. Discuss your child’s limitations and any precautions they should take. You want to be on the same page with your child’s school and doctor. One of the best ways to create a plan between your child’s doctor and the school is by asking your doctor for a Seizure Action Plan to give to the school. A Seizure Action Plan is a document that your doctor fills out to let the school staff know what to do to help your child and any limitations they may have. This could include medication, restrictions, triggers, and what to do if a seizure occurs.
Next, make sure to discuss the seizure action plan with the school staff. This may include teachers, aids, the school nurse, bus driver, and administrators. The staff should understand the seizure action plan, possible seizure triggers, and the importance of medication adherence. Keep in communication with the staff throughout the school year and always provide documentation to them if there are any changes made to the seizure action plan by the healthcare provider.
The Bottom Line
Children with epilepsy can be successful in school but they may need some extra help. By advocating for their health and education, you are helping them accomplish their goals and lead a fulfilling life. Provide them with love, care, and support to aid them along with any difficulties they may face with epilepsy. Let them know that you are there for them. If you have any questions or concerns about your child with epilepsy, reach out to their healthcare provider. If you would like to learn more about epilepsy, visit the Epilepsy Foundation website.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, October 17). Epilepsy in schools. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 19, 2023