Emotional Effects of Diagnosis - Frequently Asked Questions

How should I talk to my child about epilepsy?

20 January 2010
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As mentioned earlier, it is very important for parents to inform their child about his/her condition. The child may have no knowledge of the seizures if he/she is not conscious during them. How much you tell your child depends on how much you think he/she can handle. Generally, the younger the child is, the more satisfied he/she will be with a brief explanation. However, as the child grows, it is likely that he/she will want more information. Books and information can help explain epilepsy to the child and help answer any questions or concerns. Parents may also want their child to speak to his/her doctor for further information.
 

You should discuss what epilepsy is; the triggers; what happens during a seizure; how to manage epilepsy in terms of diet, lifestyle medications and medical care; and how your child can tell others about his/her epilepsy. Parents must reassure their child that although some seizures look dramatic, the vast majority is painless for the person involved. They should also consider mentioning that it is extremely rare for anyone to die while having a seizure if they suspect that their child has fears about death.

Children need to be encouraged to ask any questions and mention any concerns they have. Your child should be encouraged to become more involved in managing his/her own epilepsy. This includes taking his/her own medication, researching epilepsy him/herself, becoming aware of his/her own relationships with medical professionals.

 

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