The Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia provides many programs to help promote seizure first aid, epilepsy awareness and epilepsy education within the schools. These programs are crucial to those living with epilepsy, as a child spends approximately 1200 hours in school each year. It is vital that the faculty, staff and other students understand epilepsy and what to do in the instance a child has a seizure.
Seizure Smart Schools
Epilepsy can present major challenges in the educational area. One in every 50 people under the age of 18 has a seizure disorder. Loss of awareness and processing skills and impaired motor function can all impact a child's ability to do well in school. In addition, the physical aspects of a seizure may require quick medical response by the school faculty and staff.
The Seizure Smart Schools program is one of the most requested programs the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia (EFGA) provides. It consists of a 30 minute presentation to school faculty and staff on seizure recognition/ first aid, the impact seizures and seizure medications can have on school performance and in reducing stigma attached to the disorder. These presentations take place either at the faculty meetings of the school or in smaller sessions with the teaching team for a specific child.
In addition to the 30 minute presentations, the Epilepsy Foundation can assist as a resource for developing a Seizure Action plan for a child or assist in the formation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a student. We also have print materials such as first aid posters and brochures on the educational rights of children . All of these programs are made possible free of charge.
EFGA works closely with the Georgia Association of School Nurses, special education departments in individual school districts and pediatric care facilities including Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the Medical College of Georgia and pediatric neurologists throughout the state to ensure your child gets the education they deserve in a safe environment. Another excellent source of online information about epilepsy and school is www.epilepsyclassroom.com
Early/Head Start - Get Seizure Smart!
Seizures can occur at the very beginning of life and can seriously effect that child's quality of life forever if not diagnosed and put on the appropriate treatment. Often times a daycare worker may be with that child more of their waking hours than their parents. This means it is very important for childcare workers to be trained to recognize potential seizure activity so that child can receive an earlier diagnosis and get their seizures under control at a much earlier age and minimize the gap educationally that often develops.
In 2010-2011 the EFGA was part of a pilot test for a new professional education program geared towards daycare workers. The results from the pilot were very positive and we have incorporated much of the pilot materials into our Get an Early/Head Start on Being Seizure Smart program.
This program targets a wide range of daycare facilities, from Head Start programs to corporately owned daycare chains to individually owned centers and facilities geared towards the special needs child. We work very closely with the Georgia Head Start Association, Children's Medical Services and corporate entities that have daycare facilities to train their personnel in seizure recognition/first aid.
Better Understanding Seizures (BUS)
The school transportation area is often overlooked when dealing with seizures in the educational field. Statistically, at least one child on every bus in any school district has a seizure disorder For this reason, it is important for school transportation staff to know what the various seizures look like, how to provide the immediate first aid attention a child having a seizure may require, and have a protocol in place for the safe delivery of that child to their home.
The issues presented by a child having a seizure on a school bus are very different than presented in a home or school environment. A child on a bus is in a very confined amount of space, surrounded by hard surfaces that cannot be moved away easily. Also the bus is in motion, which can be very dangerous as opposed to the static environment of a classroom. In addition to the regular runs the school buses make at the beginning and end of each day, they are also used for field trips, athletic events, band or theater performances away from areas where the closest medical facility may not be known.
To address these issues unique to the school bus community, we offer the Better Understanding Seizures (BUS) education program to school districts throughout the state. These programs reach the entire bus fleets, including drivers, monitors and mechanics. We work hand in hand with the Georgia Pupil Transportation Association to assure as many of its' members as possible receive this education on an annual basis.