Teachers, school staff and personnel, and other educators play a vital role in the lives of children with epilepsy. In addition to ensuring a safe environment for students with epilepsy and knowing how to respond when a child has a seizure, teachers also find themselves on the front lines fighting the pervasive stigma that often surrounds seizures. By fostering understanding among children and adults alike, educators can make a huge impact on a child’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
Teachers and educators are sometimes the first adults to notice seizure symptoms in students with undiagnosed epilepsy. Teachers who are familiar with focal awareness seizures, for example, may be the first to notice a student’s wandering attention or repetitive movements in class. Basic familiarity with seizure facts is a great way to be an ally to students and parents.
The statistics around epilepsy diagnosis are telling: One in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. When you consider the average classroom size, we can be sure that this is an issue that touches every school, daycare center, and university campus.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota is committed to connecting educators and school personnel with the information, resources, and training they need to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for all students in their care, including students with epilepsy.
Kelly Crawford’s diagnosis of epilepsy at 12 years old led to an adolescence compounded by mental health challenges. Now, with a master’s degree in social work and her principal’s license, Kelly is working with students like her and has the goal of becoming an administrator at an alternative high school.