School Busses
Community Corner: July 22, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Do you or your child have epilepsy? Do your school teachers, nurses, and other personnel know about epilepsy and what to do?

This week’s Hallway Conversation addresses seizures and schools, a critically important area for many. Once a child reaches school age, they spend more awake time in school settings than at home. For a child or teenager with epilepsy whose seizures are not controlled, this means school personnel need to know many things, for example:

  • What happens during a seizure and the type of seizure
  • How often they happen and any predictable triggers
  • Any medicine taken on a daily basis
  • Any special first aid steps for your child
  • School policies or procedures on how to manage a seizure
  • Rescue medicine that is prescribed for seizures and how to give safely
  • Any difficulties the child may have with learning, behavior, or mood that could be related to seizures, medicines, or other problems
  • Any social problems or bullying
  • How school personnel can help your child to be safe, happy, and succeed in the school setting

Before returning to school, call your school and find out what procedures and policies are in place that relate to epilepsy.

  • Ask to speak to the school nurse and/or principal as soon as you can. Schedule an in-person meeting at the start of the year.
  • Ask how often school personnel receive education and training about seizures and epilepsy.
  • Offer to connect the school with the Epilepsy Foundation. In-person training can be done for school nurses and other school personnel or they can do online training!
  • Many Epilepsy Foundation affiliates also offer programs for students – Find an Affiliate in your area and call to set one up for your child’s school.

It’s also important for parents and students to be prepared and know what to do. Set up an appointment with the child’s epilepsy team in the summer to

  • Review his or her epilepsy,
  • Adjust treatment(s) if needed,
  • Complete forms for the school, and
  • Work with you to develop a student seizure action plan.

This can be a lot of information so ask to meet with an epilepsy nurse if one is available or set up a long enough appointment with the pediatric neurologist to get all this done.

Parents should take time on a regular basis, especially before starting a new school year, to check in with their child. It is very important to know how the child or teen feels and make sure their needs get met. Don’t focus just on the seizures – look beyond them.

  • How is he or she feeling about their epilepsy?
  • Are they comfortable with how seizures are handled at home, school, and in other settings?
  • Is there anything they want to make sure the school nurse, teachers, or others know?
  • Is there anything they prefer not to share with others?
  • How is he or she getting along with others? Do they have friends and enjoy school activities or are they feeling lonely or sad?

Summer time is a time for fun and to unwind from the school year. But’ it’s also time to prepare for what’s coming next. For a child or teen with seizures, it’s the next year and all that may come with this. Your child or teen will need to prepare for the typical school and social challenges, yet these may be greatly influenced by the seizures. New challenges may also arise because of having epilepsy. Spend some time this summer assessing and tackling these issues in advance. Being prepared can make so much difference for everyone.

For more info and resources from the Epilepsy Foundation:

Best wishes and be prepared!

Patty O. Shafer RN, MN
Associate Editor/Community Manager

Authored by: Patricia O. Shafer RN MN | Associate Editor / Community Manager on 7/2015
Listen: Seizure Smart School District

 

Epilepsy.com Editor-In-Chief Dr. Joseph Sirven interviews Cindy Hiltz, Anoka-Hennepin District 11 Health Services Coordinator, and Katherine Nickels MD about the Seizure Smart School District in Minnesota.