School personnel must be aware of epilepsy among children with physical disabilities

17 Mar

The Epilepsy Foundation has a great synopsis of the issues for schools regarding children with epilepsy. In Educators, the Epilepsy Foundation says:

About 300,000 American children and adolescents have seizure disorders, also known as epilepsy. Today, thanks to regular treatment with medicines that prevent seizures, many children with epilepsy have these episodes infrequently or not at all and are able to participate fully in school activities. However, children who are still having seizures may run into problems at school, problems like isolation from other students, low self-esteem and a lower level of achievement. Fortunately, many of these problems can be overcome or prevented through appropriate management by an informed school staff, particularly the classroom teacher and the school nurse.
Scholastic Achievement
Most children with epilepsy develop and learn similarly to children without epilepsy; however, as a group their risk for problems with learning is increased threefold. Approximately 9 percent of children with epilepsy have IQ’s below 70, a percentage that is three times greater than in the general population.
Children who achieve seizure control relatively quickly with few side effects and no cognitive impairments generally have the best chance for average or above average educational achievement. However, it is worth noting that children with epilepsy with average I.Q. may not achieve up to their potential, and attention problems have been identified across the spectrum. Loss of school time because of previously undiagnosed seizures or medical tests may also affect performance, even among children who are otherwise doing well.
Students with epilepsy are at increased risk for academic underachievement, particularly in the basic skills of reading, language, and arithmetic. Many of them are found to be significantly behind their peers in academic achievement levels, ranging from 16 percent below grade in reading to 50 percent in general knowledge. In addition, children with epilepsy have been found more likely to have impairment of self-concept and behavior than are children with asthma. Children with severe epilepsy are also likely to experience social rejection from peers.
Social Issues: Teachers & School Nurses Promote Understanding
Teacher attitude is an important factor in a child’s social adjustment at school; programs for the school community form an important part of most Epilepsy Foundation programs in local areas. Such programs generally focus on teacher awareness of seizure symptoms, seizure management and full integration of the child within the community. School nurses also play an important role in the management of the child with epilepsy at school, especially in dispensing of antiepileptic medication during the school day, and in educating the rest of the school community about epilepsy.
Education Rights
Gaining access to needed educational services is often difficult for parents of children with epilepsy. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law which states that every child with a disability is entitled to a free, appropriate education in the least restrictive setting. Children with epilepsy may be entitled to special education and related services under the Act if having epilepsy affects their educational performance. Every state has laws providing for some kind of educational services for children with disabilities.
Students of all ages may face obstacles to participation in educational programs, sports or housing programs. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids discrimination against qualified students with disabilities by educational institutions, including colleges and universities. If a school or college receives federal funds, the anti-discrimination regulations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 may also apply. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/livingwithepilepsy/educators/

Many children with physical disabilities also have epilepsy.

Special Education News posted Facts About Epilepsy Teachers Should Know:

A lot of teachers do not know but some children with physical disabilities will also suffer from problems like epilepsy.
Post by SEN Team | march 14th, 2013
There is a high chance of this occurring and because of that, special education teachers need to know the basic facts of what epilepsy is and how to deal with seizure first aid inside the classroom.
The Chance of Epilepsy Occurring
The occurrence of epilepsy in children is high. In a survey with over 200 children, there is a 0.5% chance of epilepsy from happening. Using this data, the special education services are making changes in the curriculum and teacher training in order for them to be able to handle epilepsy alongside another disability that the child is experiencing.

Teachers would have to understand how children are affected by these conditions. They need to learn what the long-term applications are in order for them to be able to adjust the well-being and daily functioning of the child.
General Facts and Myths about Epilepsy:
Truths:
1. Epilepsy can be diagnosed when seizures happen repeatedly without another trigger event.
2. Individuals who take correct treatment and medication can get rid of epilepsy.
3. There are over 40 various types of epileptic seizures with different range and ways of attacking a person.
4. Not every child with disability will have what they call tonic clonic seizure or grand mal.

False Statements:
1. A person can swallow their tongue when being attacked with seizure.
2. Epilepsy can be transferred from one person to another
3. People who have epilepsy have intellectual problems
What causes epilepsy?
Epilepsy occurs when there is a problem in the transmission and receiving of electrical activity in the brain. When an interruption occurs it can happen in different places in the brain and it will affect behavior, consciousness level as well as sensation and movement.

Children suffering from epilepsy will have a different brain activity, sometimes it will run at a much faster rate than what is normal causing the epileptic seizure to occur. Some types of seizure are easier to detect when compared with others.

Types of Epilepsy and Seizures
Other types of seizure are not easily detectable. Some seizures are described as simple or partial and will have no direct effect on the conscious level of the individual while the other will be described as more complex.

A person suffering will have an altered state of consciousness and it would be best for teachers to know the standard emergency procedures needed to help solve the problem while it is occurring in class.
http://www.specialednews.com/news/facts-about-epilepsy-teachers-should-know.htm

The Epilepsy Foundation also has great resources which explain to parents their children’s rights for an education.

In Elementary and Secondary Education Law, the Epilepsy Foundation advises:

IDEA and Your Right to a “Free, Appropriate Education”
IDEA, formerly known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 92-142), guarantees children with disabilities a “free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive setting.” This means that local school districts must develop and pay for an educational program that is tailored to the individual needs of the child with a disability. In some situations, the local school district may even be legally required to pay tuition at a private school or the cost of an outside provider if it is unable to provide the needed services in its own schools.
To qualify for protection under IDEA, a child must have a disability that adversely affects his or her ability to learn, and thus needs special education and related services. “Special education” includes instruction that is specifically designed to meet the child’s unique needs that result from a disability. It can involve adapting the content, methodology or delivery of the instruction. Disabilities covered under IDEA may include health impairments such as epilepsy, as well as traumatic brain injuries, learning disabilities, mental retardation and autism. (A child with epilepsy or another disability who does not qualify for services under IDEA may, however, qualify for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as discussed below.)
By law, public schools are required to educate children with disabilities in the “least restrictive environment” possible. This means schools cannot place a child with epilepsy in a special education classroom, away from students who do not have a disability, simply because the child with the disability requires special services. Instead, the school must allow these children to be mainstreamed and provide the related service in some other way, such as having the child visit the nurse at a designated time each day to receive medication.
For a child with epilepsy, commonly requested related services include: health services (such as administration of medication in the event of a prolonged seizure), specialized recreation services (for a child with uncontrolled seizures), counseling (to compensate for the social adjustment aspects of epilepsy) and other non-instructional services. Specialized instruction may also be necessary to compensate for accompanying learning disabilities or other cognitive impairments resulting from frequent losses of consciousness or other impairment of attention or learning ability. In some situations, it may be appropriate for the child to receive this instruction once a week for an hour at a time, for example, whereas in other situations, the severity of a child’s disability requires he or she receive specialized instruction full time. Under IDEA, the school is required to provide effective educational services in the least restrictive environment, including any related services that may be necessary to educate the child…. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/livingwithepilepsy/educators/educationlaws/elementary-and-secondary-education-law.cfm

All children have a right to a good basic education.

Resources:

What Is Epilepsy
http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/whatisepilepsy/index.cfm?gclid=CKrPqJSmmr0CFc9AMgodchQA5w

Epilepsy and Your Child’s School http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/children-school

Epilepsy http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/epilepsy.html

Related:

Father’s age may be linked to Autism and Schizophrenia https://drwilda.com/2012/08/26/fathers-age-may-be-linked-to-autism-and-schizophrenia/

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