According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is a medical condition that occurs when the electrical system in the brain malfunctions. It is also known as a seizure disorder. The brain’s continues to misfire which causes physical symptoms for a short period of time (approximately 1-2 minutes). These physical symptoms may include clouded awareness, difficulties communicating, and uncontrolled motor movements. There are approximately 3 million people in the U.S. with epilepsy. Medical treatment typical includes monitoring by a neurologist and anticonvulsant medication. The cause of epilepsy is not identifiable in 7 out of 10 people.
Some identifiable causes include the following:

Head injuries
Lack of oxygen to the brain that results in brain damage
Brain tumors
Genetic conditions
Infections such as encephalitis
Lead poisoning

Characteristics of epilepsy (NICHCY)

Episodes of staring
Blackouts or confused moments
Involuntary movement of the arms and legs
Fainting spells that are followed by incontinence and exhaustion
Odd sounds, feelings of fear, and perceptual distortions

Strategies for working with children with epilepsy

Seizures may interfere with the child’s learning
The child may miss parts of what others are saying
Observe and document episodes of seizure activity
The child may require additional educational support or assistance depending upon the severity and frequency of the seizures
Physical accommodations to the child’s environment may be necessary when seizures involve falling and dropping with no warning
First aid training and instruction on seizure management is necessary


Epilepsy Foundation of America. (n.d.). What is epilepsy? Available online at: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/


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