The preservation to this day of misconceptions about epilepsy in society leads to the fact that the diagnosis of “epilepsy” is associated with some “defect” of the patient and his danger to society. However, epilepsy is not always combined with dementia and mental disorders. Indeed, there are severe forms of epilepsy with frequent various attacks that began in early childhood, and mental retardation. Various mental disorders occur in an average of 30-40% of patients with epilepsy. At the same time, among patients with epilepsy, there are many people with normal and high intelligence, as well as many talented people who went down in history.
In many countries, public policies are aimed at involving people with disabilities in the General education system. This applies to children suffering from epilepsy, except when epilepsy is combined with severe physical or intellectual disabilities.
Teachers may object to this: “what if there is an attack? It’ll scare the other kids, and what are we gonna do with the baby?” However, all patients have different attacks. Sometimes they are completely invisible to others. It happens that attacks occur very rarely, only at night, during sleep, or are provoked by known factors that can be avoided. It is necessary to exclude the provoking factors and choose adequate therapy; and if the child is normally developed and he has no concomitant mental disorders, there are no contraindications for his education in mass school. A child with epilepsy should be included in all types of school activities, except for potentially dangerous types of physical education (for example, training at height). He should grow up among his peers, actively participate in public life, realize his abilities and not feel inferior and inferior.
Factors that may have a negative impact on the ability to learn in a child with epilepsy include:
- adverse effects of subclinical epileptic discharges that cause concentration impairment and other cognitive impairment,
- negative influence of some AEP (especially barbiturates – phenobarbital) on concentration, learning ability and behavior
- frequent school absences related to the underlying disease.
Social exclusion, as a result of hyperprotection, and problems caused by excessive leniency towards the child, low demands and expectations on the part of parents and teachers, can only complicate the situation.
A child with epilepsy should avoid any mental overload.
If the child’s abilities are reduced, often he can make great progress in the correctional school and get a lot of joy from the fact that he no longer has overloads.
If the seizures do not stop completely and there is a possibility of developing an attack at school, the teacher should be aware of the child’s disease, so that in case of an attack, take the necessary measures and calm the rest of the children in the class.