School Performance and Behavior Topics
Most children with epilepsy test in the average IQ range and will keep up with the class. However, research studies have shown that some children with this condition achieve at a lower level than their test scores would predict.
There may be several reasons why this happens:
- Medicines that prevent seizures may affect the child's ability to learn. If the child seems excessively sleepy and lacks energy, the teacher should tell the parents. A change in medicine or the times it is taken may help and parents should discuss this with the child's doctor.
- Unrecognized seizure activity in the brain may be interfering with attention. Difficulty paying attention is a frequent problem for children with epilepsy, particularly boys. Anxiety over the possibility of having a seizure may be affecting attention as well.
- There may be some underlying condition in the brain that is interfering with learning, memory or the way the brain handles information. These problems may show up in math, reading and tasks involving memory.
- A child may be showing the educational effects of prolonged periods away from school for medical tests and treatment. He or she may also have missed important aspects of previous instruction because of an undiagnosed seizure disorder.
Missed schooling may be the easiest problem to remedy, since it can be approached through tutoring and remedial work. The other problems are more subtle and may require special techniques to identify and overcome.
For example, testing by a neuropsychologist who is knowledgeable about epilepsy can help determine if the child's difficulties are due to some specific learning disability. Once identified, special education techniques may help the youngster overcome the problem.
It is important to remember that these are problems that only occur in some children with epilepsy. Many children with epilepsy do well in school without any of these difficulties.