Guidelines for Parents of Children with Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
The Peel District School Board recognizes the importance of the health, safety and overall well-being of it’s students and is committed to taking steps to reduce the risk of injury for all students and staff. For some, managing Epilepsy or Seizure disorders may be a necessary part of making the learning experience in Peel successful. Parents/Guardians of a children with Epilepsy and/or Seizure Disorder, must complete
Appendix B: Seizure Management Protocol
with your child’s health care provider, and bring it to your child’s school.
Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, specifically the brain, characterized by spontaneous, repeated seizures. Epilepsy, also known as a seizure disorder –the terms are used interchangeably, is not often talked about in public. Misconceptions and fears persist that are sometimes more burdensome to persons living with epilepsy than the seizures themselves. Approximately one out of every one hundred Canadians are living with this neurological condition. Anyone can develop epilepsy at any time without a known cause. Most often diagnosed in children and in seniors, epilepsy affects each person differently. Many people with epilepsy successfully control their seizures with medication and are able to enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives.
seizure occurs when the normal electrical balance in the brain is lost. The brain’s nerve cells misfire: they either fire when they shouldn’t or don’t fire with they should. The result is a sudden, brief, uncontrolled burst of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures are the physical effects of such unusual bursts of electrical energy in the brain and may include muscle spasms, mental confusion, loss of consciousness, uncontrolled or aimless body movement, incontinence and vomiting.
- Seizures are not contagious
- Seizures are not the child’s fault
- Many seizures are hidden
- Seizures are not dangerous to others
Causes of seizures
- For 60% to 75% of all cases there is no known cause.
- 40% are caused by abnormality in the brain that interfere with electrical workings.
- For example:
- Brain injury (caused by tumor, stroke or trauma)
- Birth trauma (e.g. lack of oxygen during labour)
- Poisoning from substance abuse or environmental contaminants (e.g. lead)
- Aftermath of infection (e.g. meningitis, encephalitis, measles)
- Alteration in blood sugar(e.g. hypoglycemia)
In most cases, epilepsy is not inherited. Everyone inherits a “seizure threshold” – when brain cells are irritated beyond this point, we will have a seizure. People with a low seizure threshold tend to develop seizures more easily than others.
- Stress- both excitement and emotional upset
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
- Menstrual cycle
- Change in weather
- Televisions, videos, flashing lights (including flickering overhead lights)
- Improper medication balance
Responsibilities of parents/guardians of students with epilepsy or a seizure disorder
- Arrange a meeting with the school prior to the student attending
- Inform the school administration of your child's epilepsy or seizure disorder, and provide information regarding current treatment
- Provide the school with physician’s instructions for administering medication by completing (Appendix A) and Seizure Management Protocol (Appendix B)
- Provide the school with any updated information including emergency contacts and telephone numbers and changes in medical conditions
- Provide additional medical information if requested
- Provide your child with a Medic Alert identification bracelet
- For excursions, consider participating on field trips
- Teach your child:
- to recognize the first symptoms of oncoming seizures and to alert an adult
- to assume as much responsibility as possible for their own safety
Canadian Epilepsy Alliance
For support in the Peel Region, visit www.epilepsysco.org