Emotional Effects of Diagnosis - Frequently Asked Questions

How is the stigma of epilepsy best dealt with?

26 January 2010
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The social stigma associated with epilepsy can be very damaging to children with epilepsy. Research shows that the attitude of others about epilepsy has more impact than epilepsy itself. Attitudes toward people with an invisible impairment, such as epilepsy, are generally less positive than towards those with a visible impairment.

Children are often self-conscious about their appearance and it may be very difficult for them to deal with having even brief seizures in public. Children fear being viewed as "different". A newly diagnosed child's perceptions of the disorder largely depend on the parents' reactions to it.

How the parents deal with the disorder, rather than the severity or frequency of the child's seizures, determines how well the child adapts to the disorder. Instil confidence in the child by praising what he/she can do. Allow your child to make choices to foster independence.

Do not isolate the child, saying "It's for your own good". All children deserve the same opportunities. All children need to learn how to take reasonable risks. Facing fear and failure is a valuable learning experience necessary for any child to grow and mature.


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