Thursday, March 26th is World Epilepsy Day which provides an opportunity to start the conversation about epilepsy. This is especially important for people who currently live with seizures as well as among parents, educators, and children.
Also called Purple day, the day was started 12 years ago, by a Canadian student who has since spread it around the world as an important day on the calendar to increase awareness about epilepsy.
Like many other conditions, epilepsy can be difficult to talk about, but it is an important conversation to have with children since epilepsy Australia statistics show approximately 1 in 200 students in Australia have epilepsy and while seizures can begin at any age they commonly begin before the age of 10 making young children a higher risk.
Epilepsy is the name of the condition that is given to people that have seizures. When a seizure occurs, the person’s muscles tighten and relax quickly or they completely stop moving. Seizures occur suddenly and the person having one cannot control their muscles during a seizure. While the seizures themselves are usually quite short, there are often long term effects following them which can include moodiness, headaches and becoming drowsy or tired.
The frequency of seizures ranges greatly, and it can happen very rarely or every day. Unfortunately, doctors are often unable to diagnose the reason for the seizures which makes it difficult to predict when they will happen and who will get them.
Especially as a child, having a condition like epilepsy can be an isolating experience. Having an epilepsy Australia management plan will assess the child’s frequency and severity of seizures and suggest an appropriate course of action to maximise their ability to participate in activities with other children while keeping them safe.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about epilepsy which leads to unnecessary stigma. Therefore, starting the conversation and educating others about seizures and what to do if someone close to them has a seizure very important.
It is important for schools to ensure that a school is a safe place for all students who learn there including students with and without epilepsy in Australia. In order to care for all of these children’s needs, it is important for teachers to understand the impact of epilepsy on students’ learning and how they can maximize the learning goals for everyone in the class.
Children with seizures can often lead relatively normal childhoods depending on the following:
It is important for children to understand as much as possible for their age, especially about the triggers of seizures. That way, if they are able to help keep themselves and their friend’s seizure-free.
Some common triggers for children with epilepsy in Australia are:
While it is important for children to stay safe, excluding a child with epilepsy from activities can lead to a feeling of social isolation, anxiety or depression. This is a key reason to teach children about epilepsy, especially if there is someone in the class who has the condition and create an epilepsy Australia management plan.
The more the child is able to understand, the more they will be able to empathise with this student and help create other opportunities for them to feel as included as possible within the confines of what is safe for them. It is also important to allow children to participate in as many of the regular school activities as possible.
Epilepsy Australia statistics show teaching children about epilepsy is best done:
Something else that is important for all students to keep in mind, is that best practices for teaching children with memory or attention challenges is through individual learning. While this learning is taking place, it may leave other students in a position where the teacher is less available.
It is therefore important that the other children understand why the teacher might have to provide additional attention or instruction to one child without creating a sense of jealousy or resentment among the other children.
Utilizing classroom teaching strategies that especially engage the child with epilepsy such as providing a schedule of the day, using visual tools to teach, allowing students to think before responding and encouraging peer-to-peer learning are all strategies that should be effective to further engage all of the students in the classroom.
Of particular importance is ensuring that the child’s strengths and accomplishments are mentioned and rewarded. While this, of course, is important for all children, it is especially important for children with epilepsy to ensure that they are not being seen as “a child with epilepsy” but rather a child just like anyone else with accomplishments as well as challenges.
Earlier this month, on March 1, we marked World Wheelchair Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the positive impact a wheelchair had on their lives. Together, World Wheelchair Day and World Epilepsy Day provide us with an opportunity to celebrate our differences and share our stories about how each of us is unique.
To celebrate Statewide Home Health Care offers 10% off Breezy Basix Wheelchair instore and online throughout the month of March 2020.
Your Home. Your Health. We Care.