The Epilepsy Foundation has excellent resource and recommendations for parents who have a child with a seizure disorder in a school setting.
These are just a few of the many tips they have. Please see their website for guidance and suggestions.
Most children with epilepsy attend school and can participate in all activities. Some may need to take medicine at school, help with certain subjects, or extra time on tests. They may sometimes have seizures at school. With more than 300,000 school-age children in the United States who have epilepsy, none of this is that unusual. Yet there’s a good chance that many of your child’s teachers and classmates won’t know much about epilepsy. Educating them is one of the most important things you can do to help your child at school.
Meeting with Teachers
Start each school year by scheduling a meeting with your child’s teacher. Discuss your child’s condition, any learning issues and how to respond if your child has a seizure. Ask if there are others at the school you should talk to or give information to, such as gym teachers, school nurses, the librarian, etc. Keep in touch with them through the school year about your child’s progress, changes in medication and any related issues. Ask your teacher to discuss epilepsy with the class in a way that is appropriate for the age level and that would be comfortable for your child. Having a seizure at school can be embarrassing for a child and frightening for others. It is better if the teacher discussed it with the students beforehand. Talking to students about epilepsy can help prevent teasing and correct some of the inaccuracies children may have heard. Offer to provide books and other materials the teacher can use.
Make sure that all adults who supervise your child during the school day know what to do if your child has a seizure. Don’t forget about school bus drivers, lunchroom supervisors, student teachers, etc. Ask officials to post “seizure management” first aid tips in visible locations around the school.
If your child is in day care, you will want to work with the caregivers to make sure they understand what epilepsy is and how to handle a seizure. Visit this website’s Living with Epilepsy section for information and tools you can use.
Parents of infants and toddlers with epilepsy sometimes have a hard time finding child care while they work. Most day care centers and pre-schools are not public or run by the government. Many are private businesses, with each one setting many of its own rules and policies. Some have used this independence to deny admission to children with epilepsy or to refuse to give them emergency antiseizure medication.
The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to private centers. It requires child care centers to provide services for children with disabilities such as epilepsy that are comparable to the services they provide to other children. They must make reasonable changes to policies and practices so that they can serve all children, unless the modification would cause a major change to the program or undue hardship for the center.
Infants and toddlers with disabilities who are at risk of developmental delays are entitled to early intervention services such as physical or speech therapy, case management and nursing services. For information on services in your area, talk to your child’s doctor for suggestions.
If you feel that your child has been denied access to child care or services, you can file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice or file a lawsuit.
See the Epilepsy Foundation for more information on this and other topics.