Melissa Grosdidier, Ian Allion, Danny Foster, Kelsey Furnell

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  • Blackouts or periods of confused memory
  • Periods of staring and/or unexplained unresponsiveness
  • Involuntary movement of arms or legs
  • Fainting spells
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Odd sounds, distorted perceptions, feelings of fear that cannot be explained

How Doctors Identify Epilepsy

  • Complete neurological consultation for epilepsy
  • Neurophysiology tests such as EEG (electroencephalogram) which is a test to measure the electrical activity of the brain
  • Long-term video EEG with internal and external measuring devises.
  • Neuroimaging such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan) to measure magnetic pulses of the brain and PET scans (positron-emission tomography) which uses radioactive substances to look for brain abnormalities
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Speech and auditory processing evaluations


  • Affects 2.2 million Americans
  • Approximately 65 million world wide
  • Strikes the oldest and youngest citizens most often
  • As the baby boom age increases, so does the amount of people with epilepsy
  • Fourth most common neurological disorder in the U.S.

Impact of Epilepsy on Cognitive Functioning

  • Mental retardation
  • 20-30% of patients affected
  • Affects speech, language, attention, memory
  • Learning problems that impact performance

Impact of Epilepsy on Socio-emotional Functioning

  • Have more impaired self-concept
  • Attributed social isolation and stigma as contributing factors
  • Have difficulty in trying to feel good about themselves/ affects self-esteem
  • Educators can play a big role in developing self-esteem in students

Impact of Epilepsy on Day-to-Day Functioning

People with epilepsy may also experience
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Defensive aggressiveness
  • Poorer educational achievement
  • Higher unemployment rates
  • Lower marriage rates

Teaching Considerations

Adaptations that can be beneficial to students with this disability

To address memory deficits
  • Provide written or pictorial instructions
  • Use voice recordings of verbal instructions

  • Permit tape recording

  • Divide large tasks into smaller steps

  • Provide a checklist of assignments

  • Provide a calendar with due dates

  • Decrease memory demands during classwork and testing

To address health concerns

  • Be flexible about time missed from school to seek treatment

  • Provide extra time for assignments and a modified workload

  • Replace fluorescent lighting with full spectrum lighting

  • Provide private area to rest or recover from a seizure

Controversial issues surrounding the students with this disability

People believe that students with epilepsy:
  • Cannot be in regular classrooms
  • Are not smart
  • All fall to the ground and foam at the mouth when having seizures
  • Are a distraction to other students


“Diagnosing Seizures & Epilepsy.” Hopkinsmedicine. Johns Hopkins Health System. n.d.

Web 27 March 2013.

“Psychiatric Disorders Associated With Epilepsy.” Pedro E. Fernandez-Frau. Medscape

Reference. 2011. Web 27 March 2013.

“Growing Up With Epilepsy: Teaching Students with Epilepsy, Strategies for Educators.”

Gretchen Timmel. MassGeneral.org. 2006. Web 27 March 2013.

Albert P. Aldenkamp, Johan Arends. Effects of epileptiform EEG discharges on cognitive

function: Is the concept of “transient cognitive impairment” still valid?, National Epilepsy

Foundation of the Netherlands, February 2004. Web.

“Epilepsy: NICHCY Disability Fact Sheet.” NICHCY. National Dissemination Center for

Children with Disabilities. 2010. Web 27 March 2013.