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Epilepsy and Your Child's School

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Fighting Epilepsy Stigma in Your Child's School continued...

"Some people don't understand epilepsy. They think it's a mental illness or a kind of retardation," Turk says. "That's obviously not true, but the reaction that children with epilepsy get to their condition can really shape their outcome."

"Even if your child is very smart, if his teacher treats him like he's stupid because he has epilepsy, that can become a self-fulfilling prophesy," says Turk.

It's important to fight these misunderstandings and prejudices when you encounter them. Explain that children with epilepsy are usually just as capable as other kids. You may meet people who call your child an "epileptic." Explain why the term isn't used anymore: A child with epilepsy isn't defined by this condition. Instead, epilepsy is usually a small part of his or her life.

No doubt you and your child will meet some people with outdated ideas about epilepsy. But take heart. Turk says the public's understanding of epilepsy is improving, largely thanks to parents who talk openly and honestly about the condition.

"I think it's very important for people with epilepsy not to hide it," says Turk. In the long run, every child with epilepsy will benefit from your openness.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on May 24, 2014
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