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Back to School with Epilepsy

Back to School with Epilepsy

Back to school season is nearly upon us and the prospect of getting school supplies, meeting up with friends – both old and new – and starting classes makes going back to school or starting school very exciting for students.

However, for parents, back to school season means ensuring that your child has a positive experience at school, as they spend so much of their lives at school. If you are the parent of a child who has a medical condition like epilepsy, this can make back to school season even more daunting.

If you are the parent of a child living with epilepsy who is going back to school or starting school this year, check out our tips below to help make back to school season more bearable:

Tip 1 – Inform the School:

  • As a parent, you are your child’s best advocate, who knows them and their needs the best. It is important to communicate these needs with the adults that are charged with their care
  • You should meet with the principal and vice principal of your child’s school as well as your child’s teachers and any other staff members who supervise your child throughout the school day and provide them with information – both verbal and written – about your child’s epilepsy.
    • You may choose to give them information on the following:
      • The type of epilepsy that they have
      • What their seizures typically look like
      • The frequency of their seizures, including the date of their last seizure
      • Any seizure triggers they have
      • The names and dosages of their medications, including any pertinent side effects
      • The protocol for seizure first aid

Tip 2 – Educate the School:

  • All staff members at the school should be educated about epilepsy and seizures so that they can be better informed on how to deal with issues, should they arise
  • The BC Epilepsy Society provides free workshops, information and materials to schools through our Partners in Teaching program, which goes over seizure types and first aid, safety considerations, and ways that schools can support the academic and developmental needs of students with epilepsy
  • Find out more about the Partners in Teaching program here and learn how to request a workshop for your school here

Tip 3 – Prevent Stigma and Bullying:

  • For students living with epilepsy, stigma and bullying can be a serious concern
  • The more people learn about epilepsy and help to educate others, the easier it will be to dispel common myths about epilepsy to fight stigma and bullying
  • Check our age-appropriate materials that can help children and youth get a better understanding of epilepsy from the BC Epilepsy Society here
  • Check out our I AM A VOICE for Epilepsy Awareness™ campaign here, which is our international initiative designed to help people become more aware of epilepsy and decrease stigma

Tip 4 – Get Support:

  • Epilepsy can too often be an isolating condition, which is why it is important to ensure that you have support networks in place
  • Epilepsy Friends Forever (EFF) provides friendship, understanding, education and support in a fun and creative environment for children and youth living with epilepsy
    • Find out more about EFF and how to register here
  • The BC Epilepsy Parents Network (BCEPN) provides a support group for parents who have children living with epilepsy
    • Find out more about BCEPN and how to register here

Be sure to check out our Information Sheets entitled School and Parent Partnerships and Understanding Students with Epilepsy: Tips for Teachers for more information that will help you during back to school time. We hope that you and your child have a successful back to school journey this school year!

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