Archive for the ‘Epilepsy’ Category

COPING WITH SEIZURES AND EPILEPSY: WHAT DO YOU TELL THE SCHOOL?

Saturday, June 18th, 2011
In the best of all possible worlds, clearly you should tell the school about the seizure. Unfortunately, this is not the best of worlds. Prejudice, misconceptions, overconcern, and fear of seizures still exist. Therefore, there is no simple correct answer to the question. In general, there is no need to tell the school about a single seizure. There is nothing school officials can do, or should do, about your child. They need not watch him more carefully unless he is participating in gymnastics that would place him at heights or is swimming unsupervised. They should not restrict him from playing on sports teams or at recess. He should be allowed to go on field trips and to do everything the other children do. Since there is nothing special school personnel need to do after a single seizure, it’s probably not necessary to let them know about it. What or whether you tell the school about the seizure may depend on your assessment of the teacher, the principal, and the school nurse and how you think they will react to the information. If your son or daughter does have another seizure, and if it occurs in school, you will wish that you had told them if you did not. After a second or third tonic-clonic seizure, or with epilepsy, it’s a different matter, to be discussed later.
This same philosophy applies to day care and to babysitters. Individuals acting as surrogate parents should have the same information and philosophy about overprotection as you have.
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LIVING WITH EPILEPSY/SCHOOL: LEARNING AND BEHAVIOR – ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

Thursday, February 17th, 2011
A cause that has received much attention is a condition called “organic hyperactivity” or more recently “ADD,” Attention Deficit Disorder. Although this condition is common, we know surprisingly little about its source. It may or may not be associated with physical hyperactivity. ADD is more common (or more easily recognized) in boys, where over-activity is a more common accompanying symptom and more likely to draw attention to the child. Attention Deficit Disorders are not uncommon in children during the early school years; they are perhaps even more common in children with epilepsy. They are also frequently associated with “immaturity” of the nervous system and with the learning disorders described above.
While its cause is unknown, we like to think of ADD as a “filtering” problem. Everyone is constantly bombarded by multiple different stimuli. As you are reading this chapter there may be children playing in the room, the TV may be playing, the clock ticking, and someone else talking. And yet you are able to filter all of these other stimuli out and concentrate, pay attention to what you are reading. We do not know exactly how this filtering takes place, but it seems to be partly a learned skill and partly a result of maturity of the nervous system. Infants and young children are easily distracted by the many stimuli around them; they have difficulty paying attention (except to TV). As they get older, they can attend better. Some children mature faster in this respect than others. Some have far more difficulty paying attention than others and are diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorders when the problem interferes with their work in school.
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LIVING WITH EPILEPSY/SCHOOL: LEARNING AND BEHAVIOR – ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDERA cause that has received much attention is a condition called “organic hyperactivity” or more recently “ADD,” Attention Deficit Disorder. Although this condition is common, we know surprisingly little about its source. It may or may not be associated with physical hyperactivity. ADD is more common (or more easily recognized) in boys, where over-activity is a more common accompanying symptom and more likely to draw attention to the child. Attention Deficit Disorders are not uncommon in children during the early school years; they are perhaps even more common in children with epilepsy. They are also frequently associated with “immaturity” of the nervous system and with the learning disorders described above.While its cause is unknown, we like to think of ADD as a “filtering” problem. Everyone is constantly bombarded by multiple different stimuli. As you are reading this chapter there may be children playing in the room, the TV may be playing, the clock ticking, and someone else talking. And yet you are able to filter all of these other stimuli out and concentrate, pay attention to what you are reading. We do not know exactly how this filtering takes place, but it seems to be partly a learned skill and partly a result of maturity of the nervous system. Infants and young children are easily distracted by the many stimuli around them; they have difficulty paying attention (except to TV). As they get older, they can attend better. Some children mature faster in this respect than others. Some have far more difficulty paying attention than others and are diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorders when the problem interferes with their work in school.*246\208\8*

HELPING YOUR CHILD COPE WITH EPILEPSY: ABSENCE SEIZURES – YOUR CHILD’S PROBLEMS SOLVING

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011
You need to give your child the opportunity to let you know he’s missing things in school—for example, instructions or the end of a story. We know of one child who assumed that life was just a series of blank spaces. His class was making a movie about a train going by, and he wanted to cut out frames of the film. When asked why, he told his teacher that’s how he saw it—with short blank spots between the pictures. It was then that his teacher became aware that there were frequent, very brief, gaps in his attention and that the diagnosis of absence seizures was eventually made.
These simple absence seizures can usually be brought completely under control with medication, although it may take several weeks to gain control. Until then, the child’s activities should be more carefully supervised, with caution and concern but without over-protectiveness or panic.
Teachers are a very important, perhaps even crucial part of the evaluation and treatment of a child who has absence seizures. There are few other times when a child is consistently under observation and when brief lapses in attention can be readily recognized. It is not uncommon for the teacher to be the first to recognize these lapses of attention. Some parents feel guilty because they did not notice these lapses themselves, but in the structured atmosphere of the classroom, they are often easier to see and recognize than in the more informal atmosphere of a family. And once they are recognized the teacher can be your child’s best ally by noting spells and possible side effects of medication.
On the other hand, because of the myths about epilepsy, an uninformed or biased teacher may now treat your child as if he has a learning problem or is dumb. Normal daydreaming may be misperceived as staring spells. A child who is daydreaming may or may not respond if called, but will certainly respond if the teacher goes over and touches him. When a child does not respond he is more likely to be experiencing absence seizures.
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HELPING YOUR CHILD COPE WITH EPILEPSY: ABSENCE SEIZURES – YOUR CHILD’S PROBLEMS SOLVING You need to give your child the opportunity to let you know he’s missing things in school—for example, instructions or the end of a story. We know of one child who assumed that life was just a series of blank spaces. His class was making a movie about a train going by, and he wanted to cut out frames of the film. When asked why, he told his teacher that’s how he saw it—with short blank spots between the pictures. It was then that his teacher became aware that there were frequent, very brief, gaps in his attention and that the diagnosis of absence seizures was eventually made.These simple absence seizures can usually be brought completely under control with medication, although it may take several weeks to gain control. Until then, the child’s activities should be more carefully supervised, with caution and concern but without over-protectiveness or panic.Teachers are a very important, perhaps even crucial part of the evaluation and treatment of a child who has absence seizures. There are few other times when a child is consistently under observation and when brief lapses in attention can be readily recognized. It is not uncommon for the teacher to be the first to recognize these lapses of attention. Some parents feel guilty because they did not notice these lapses themselves, but in the structured atmosphere of the classroom, they are often easier to see and recognize than in the more informal atmosphere of a family. And once they are recognized the teacher can be your child’s best ally by noting spells and possible side effects of medication.On the other hand, because of the myths about epilepsy, an uninformed or biased teacher may now treat your child as if he has a learning problem or is dumb. Normal daydreaming may be misperceived as staring spells. A child who is daydreaming may or may not respond if called, but will certainly respond if the teacher goes over and touches him. When a child does not respond he is more likely to be experiencing absence seizures.*184\208\8*