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Epilepsy and Seizures

Special Concerns for TeenagersEpilepsy And Driving, Activities And Classes, Epilepsy And Your Family, Concerns About The Future

J im, sixteen, was sent to Mr. Oko in the guid ance office for being “disruptive” in class.

Jim does not recall being disruptive in class. He remembers watching Ms. Wilson solve a problem on the chalkboard. The next thing he knew, he was being escorted out of the classroom. Ms. Wilson said that Jim started banging on his desk and walking around the room. When she told him to return to his seat, Jim looked straight at her and ignored her.

Jim's grades had been dropping all year. He was failing one subject and barely passing two others. In the past, he had always been a good stu dent, and he had never failed a class before.

Jim was very polite as he talked to Mr. Oko, even though he seemed tired and answered questions slowly. Mr. Oko learned that Jim had had seizures when he was in second grade and had not been to the doctor in several years.

Mr. Oko called Jim's mother. She agreed to take Jim to a doctor and to report Jim's problems in school. The doctor learned that Jim was having seizures, and she prescribed medication.

By the end of the school year, Jim was able to pass all of his courses, and Ms. Wilson gained an understanding of seizures.

Most people have never witnessed a seizure. Learning more about seizures can help to lessen fears. People need to learn that seizures are a temporary condition of the brain and that they are not contagious. Many people would probably like to know how to help someone who is having a seizure.

Teens with epilepsy are often concerned about how the condition will affect them at school—about how epilepsy might affect their grades and social life, and what their classmates will think of them. One of their most common fears is having a seizure in front of others. They worry that they will be horribly embarrassed if they space out, shout, fall down, shake, foam at the mouth, or urinate or defecate—any of which can happen during a seizure. Many do not want to return to school after having had a seizure there.

No one needs to isolate him- or herself if he or she has seizures. It is helpful for teens with epilepsy to talk to others about their condition and share their concerns with friends, family members, classmates, and teachers.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaEpilepsy