Epilepsy in schoolchildren: questions parents ask themselves
Epilepsy is one of the most common diseases of the nervous system, which, due to its characteristics, presents a serious medical and social problem. About 40 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy. The majority (about 65%) can live with little or no seizures, provided they receive appropriate medical examination and treatment.
Epilepsy is most often diagnosed at an early age, in children or adolescents. It is necessary to notice and recognize this disease in time. The earlier, the faster you can choose a specific treatment. In some forms of epilepsy, it is possible to completely recover, in others , to partially or completely get rid of the seizures.
Parents are most concerned about whether their child will be able to remain physically complete and with a healthy intellect, given the fact that antiepileptic drugs have many side effects. According to modern research, more than 50% of children with epilepsy do not differ from their peers in terms of intelligence development. Often they turn out to be even more talented in the field of literature and art – it is enough to remember the great people with epilepsy.
Parents often worry if the child’s personality and character will change if epilepsy is diagnosed – this is a controversial issue that is influenced by many factors. Severe forms of epilepsy with frequent seizures, the onset of the disease at an early age, organic brain damage – these are the main factors that can lead to a decrease in intelligence and various behavioral disorders in children with epilepsy. We should not forget that some (especially old) antiepileptic drugs can affect concentration, the ability to assimilate material, and often cause mood swings. In addition , if a child is protected from any physical and emotional activity, this also adversely affects his character.
Children with epilepsy have equal rights with everyone else, therefore they can and should attend school. It is fundamentally important that children with normal intelligence should study in a mainstream school, regardless of the frequency of seizures. Children with intellectual or mental disabilities should be enrolled in specialized schools or in general education (“inclusive”) schools according to a special program. It is important for any children, regardless of physical or psychological characteristics, to communicate with peers – this is the only way they acquire key communication skills, without which it is impossible to exist in the modern world.