While the vast majority of people who live with epilepsy are able to pursue their passions and aspirations without worry over experiencing epilepsy induced seizures, there still exist a small challenge in moving forward and learning to thrive despite living with a neurological condition.
Challenging as it may be, the difficulties only increase when it is a child having to learn how to best manage their condition and the unique challenges they may face.
As a parent and perhaps someone who does not readily identify with the unique challenges a person living with epilepsy may face, it can be quite difficult to know how to best help your child and what to do if something unfortunate were to happen. Though it is important to note that while it may at times be confusing, frustrating, or even frightening, you are not alone in feeling that way and certainly not the only one experiencing a similar challenge. As nearly 1% of the UK population lives with epilepsy, you can find a thriving community of people going through very much the same things as yourself.
So together let’s explore a topic that may be a bit worrisome for most parents, and certainly worrisome for those with a child who lives with epilepsy, your child and their school.
Your Child and School…
For parents of a child who live with epilepsy, depending on when your child began exhibiting signs of the condition, schooling can be especially difficult. Certainly as parents, it is hardwired into your very life to want only the best for your child and it is only natural to want to protect them from harm. For some parents, the idea of leaving your child alone with people, let alone other children, who may not understand the intricacies of what your child experiences can cause quite a few concerns. This is completely understandable but it is important to note that while nervousness and anxiety surrounding your child’s schooling is completely natural, there is no cause for excessive worry.
A vast majority of children who live with epilepsy still attend regularly schooling much like any other child, without any real cause for concern. Though this isn’t to say that there is no need to exhibit a bit more caution, but this could take shape in several productive ways.
Explain your child’s epilepsy…
Open the channels of communication between yourself and your child’s teachers. It is important that the school’s administration and your child’s teachers understand the unique challenges your child may face during school and know what to do if something were to happen.
So sit down with your child’s teachers…
Finding the time to sit down with your child’s teachers and explain the intricacies of what your child faces in a day to day experience is paramount for ensuring your child’s safety and success during their time at school.
While epilepsy and other neurological conditions have garnered more understanding in recent years, it is still important to sit down and explain the unique aspects of your child’s own experience with the condition.
As many people simply are not readily informed enough about the condition or are misinformed due to lack of exposure, if you don’t take the time to explain the signs of epilepsy induced seizure as your child experiences it or the steps to take if one occurs, your child’s teacher may not know how to best help your child.
Ask your child’s teachers to have a discussion with the class about epilepsy…
As a vast majority of the adult population is largely unaware of many facts surrounding epilepsy and those who live with the condition, chances are your child’s classmates will know even less. So ask your child’s teacher to have an open and honest talk with students about epilepsy. Doing so provides an opportunity to increase understanding of not only the condition but of those that live with epilepsy while providing an opportunity to educate your child’s classmates about what to do if your child experiences an epilepsy induced seizure during class.
Asking your child’s teacher to educate the class about epilepsy is paramount in creating an environment in which your child can grow into a successful adult just like any other child can.
Understanding that your child’s experience…
While schooling may present a unique set of challenges for you to face as a parent of a child who lives with epilepsy, taking the time to sit down with your child’s teachers, the school administration, and of course your child will allow your little one to move forward much as every other child does, attending classes, making friends, and experiencing life with a greater opportunity for success.
If you would like additional material to learn who to best support your child as they head off to school, please see this resource on epilepsy and education.