The Effect of Epilepsy on Development
Epilepsy is the name of a group of conditions where there are electrical disturbances in the brain. Children with epilepsy have the same range of intelligence and abilities as other children. However, learning disabilities, emotional problems, and motor impairments commonly accompany seizures and may be exacerbated by the medications used to assist with seizure control. These complications in the child with epilepsy frequently lead to poor school performance, depression, low self-esteem, and withdrawal, drowsiness or hyperactivity) and behavioural disturbances.
Occupational Therapy Intervention:
- Doctor referral
- Evaluation and diagnostic process when seizures are suspected
- Work with relevant health care staff (speech pathologists, physiotherapists, psychologists), family and teachers for seizure control and modification of lifestyle and activity
- Look specifically at any problem areas such as using a knife and fork, getting dressed, writing etc. This may involve recommending specialist equipment like adapted cutlery, kitchen equipment, specialist seating, bathing and showering equipment
- Coping skills for dealing with social and psychological stresses of seizures and unanticipated vocational change
- Compensatory techniques for long term difficulties and to reduce the risk of injuries
- Modify work or home environment that will support the child and the seizures
- Set up supportive environment that facilitates and promotes autonomy and independence
- Encourage and assist with organisation and preparation for participation in sporting and social activities
- Consider providing protective helmets or pad aspects of the environment, if required.
- For more information:
- Epilepsy Helpline Tel. 1300 852 853
- Children’s Epilepsy Program, Royal Children’s Hospital Tel. (03) 9345 5661