Health

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.
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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*

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