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Epilepsy Health Center

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Epilepsy and Your Child's School

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Take the Initiative With Your Child's School continued...

"Your daughter could be back in the classroom in thirty minutes," Turk says. If she's taken for an unnecessary ride in an ambulance, she'll miss a lot more school.

This advice doesn't only apply to teachers, of course. You should let relatives, babysitters, scout leaders, and coaches know that your child has epilepsy. Also, let them know what they should do during a seizure.

In some cases, where your child's seizures are uncontrolled, home schooling might be a good option for a while. The convenience that home schooling offers a child with epilepsy, however, may be outweighed by the isolation from other children their age.

Epilepsy and Learning Disabilities

Statistically, children with epilepsy are more likely to have learning disabilities than other kids, according to Turk. But that doesn't mean that children with epilepsy are underachievers. Plenty of children with epilepsy are straight-A students. If your child is having problems in school, talk to your doctor about possible reasons. Among them:

  • Sometimes, learning disabilities are directly related to the epilepsy. Whatever is causing seizures in the brain may also affect your child's ability to learn.
  • Also, epilepsy medicines might cause side effects that can impair a child's ability to concentrate.
  • Your child could have an unrelated learning disability, like any other child.
  • Lastly, depression may be a serious and unrecognized issue for children with epilepsy. Depression is "definitely a problem for young adults with epilepsy, and I think for kids, too," Turk says. Kids with depression may have low energy, a limited attention span, and bad grades. Parents should not assume these symptoms are normal for children with epilepsy. Turk says that parents who notice their child is having problems in school should step in quickly. "Don't stick your head in the sand," he says. "You need to get it checked out. The learning disability may have little to do with the epilepsy itself. It may be something that can be corrected easily."

Fighting Epilepsy Stigma in Your Child's School

Coping with people at school who don't understand epilepsy is just one example of the stigma that you and your child may face at times.

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