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Epilepsy in Childhood

  • About 300,000 American children under the age of 14 have epilepsy.
  • It affects children at different ages and in different ways.
  • Early recognition and treatment are keys to the best possible outcome.
  • For some, it will be a temporary problem, easily controlled with medication, outgrown after a few years.
  • For others, it may be a lifelong challenge affecting many areas of life.
  • It may be associated with serious, difficult-to-treat syndromes, including Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, genetically related conditions and developmental disorders.
  • Social impact in childhood is often severe, producing isolation and loss of self esteem.

In This Section:

  • Types of Seizures includes a description of seizure types seen in children and information about how to keep track of your child's seizures.
  • Seizure First Aid covers what to do if your child has a generalized seizure, when to get medical attention, information about continuous seizures, and tools to help teach others about seizure first aid.
  • Diagnosing Seizures describes what your doctor may want to know about your child's medical history and provides helpful tools
  • Signs & Symptoms helps parents, teachers and other adults who care for children know the signs of epilepsy.
  • Conditions Confused with Epilepsy describes other events that may look like a seizure.
  • Causes of Epilepsy in Childhood
  • Seizure Triggers in Children describes some things that seem to trigger or cause a seizure in some children so you can watch to see if they affect your child.
  • Related Conditions covers some of the common conditions that sometimes occur in children with seizures.
  • When It's More Than Just Seizures includes information about acceptance and adjustment, intellectural disability, cerebral palsy, education and training, living and working in the community, driving, income and medical assistance and the outlook for success in life.
  • Your Medical Team describes different providers who may be part of your child's medical team and provides resources to manage your team
  • Treatment Options describes treatment options for children with epilepsy and questions to ask to be an active partner in your child's care
  • Treatment with Medication includes information about finding the right medicine, helping it work and working with your doctor about changes in your child's medication.
  • Managing Seizure Medications provides tools and answers questions like "Why is it hard for children to take medications?" and "How can I make it easier for a child to take their medicine?
  • How Long Do Children Need Seizure Medicine?
  • Dietary Therapy describes the ketogenic diet, a very strict diet that helps stop or control seizures for some children with epilepsy.
  • Your Child at Home helps the entire family when a child has epilepsy.
  • Your Child at School and Child Care provides advice to help you help your child's teachers and other caregivers.
  • Playing Sports and Other Activities provides guidance for parents trying to find the balance between a child's safety and his or her ability to enjoy a full range of activities.
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014
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