Epilepsy Smart Schools

What is an Epilepsy Smart School?
Epilepsy Awareness
Learning Environment
Inclusion
Epilepsy Plans
What is an Epilepsy Smart School?

An Epilepsy Smart School is one that understands epilepsy and puts in place inclusive practices to support your child to achieve their academic potential and develop positive social relationships.

As a parent/guardian you want to know that your child is in safe hands, is getting the best education he/she can and is able to participate in all school and community activities to the best of his/her capabilities. This website provides information and tools to facilitate family and school discussions and planning which will provide a strong foundation to support your child throughout his/her school years. We encourage you to go through the resources and tools available on this website and discuss your child’s learning and support needs openly with your child’s school.

This website is based on the Epilepsy Smart Schools Practical Guide which provides information on how a school can embed inclusive, safe and educationally sound practices for students with epilepsy and in so doing become ‘epilepsy smart’.

The tabs on the side of each page will take you through the different sections of the Practical Guide, giving you further information and access to resources to support your child.

The Epilepsy Foundation operates an Information Line 1300 761 487 accessible Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. The Information Line is staffed by allied health professionals with expertise in epilepsy and how it may affect your child’s health, wellbeing, and daily living. If at any time you have a question about your child’s epilepsy please call us.

Epilepsy Awareness

An Epilepsy Smart School ensures that:

  • You have access to support when your child is transitioning into primary school/secondary school/special school or between schools.
  • You are consulted when developing a Student Health Support Plan for your child.
  • There is clear communication and documentation of discussions between home and school, especially as it relates to your child’s seizure frequency and any learning, health or social concerns.
  • Teachers are trained to support your child at school, and if prescribed to administer emergency medication.
  • Your child is supported (when consent has been gained and it is appropriate) to educate peers about their epilepsy.
  • That risks are managed appropriately especially as it relates to individually supervision for students with epilepsy during water activities at all times.

The Epilepsy Foundation hosts a Childhood Specialist Series of information sessions for families throughout the year. These sessions are led by Paediatric Neurologists and Neuropsychologists and are designed to address the many questions parents/guardians of children with epilepsy may have. We strongly encourage families to take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about epilepsy.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Epilepsy Policy provides further guidelines for schools in relation to epilepsy awareness.

Transition Checklist
A practical resource that provides a checklist for parents/guardians to consider prior to their child moving into primary, secondary or special schools.

Learning Environment

Each child’s seizure response is different, additional supports needed by your child following a seizure will vary depending on the type of seizure and the impact on him/her; the impact may be short term (minutes to hours) or long term (one or several days) and it is important that your child’s school understands the impact. The Learning Conversations guide has been developed to support these conversations.

Schools are responsible for making reasonable adjustments in the classroom related to your child’s seizure activity or attendance at medical appointments, this may include:

  • Development of an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)
  • Setup of a Student Support Group (SSG)
  • Adjustment of assessment tasks related to time or reasonable expectations in group work
  • Examination adjustments related to increased reading time, breaks or identified trigger considerations
  • Engagement of specialist services such as neuropsychologists, psychologists, occupational therapists or speech pathologists

The Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Epilepsy Policy provides further information on learning support.

Learning conversations about epilepsy: a parent and teacher’s resource
This practical resource will help parents/guardians and teachers work together to better understand what the possible learning implications may be for your child with epilepsy.

Student Individual Learning Plan (ILP)
This resource is designed for teacher use, however families may find it useful to review this document to increase their understanding of what an ILP looks like and why family input is important.

The ILP is an interactive pdf document. A sample plan is also available.

Inclusion

An Epilepsy Smart School understands that all students, not just those with epilepsy, face risks in the classroom, in the yard and on camps/excursions. For students with epilepsy, risk should be balanced between what’s important to and for your child.

Students with epilepsy can generally participate fully in school life, including camps, excursions and special events. However, your child’s Epilepsy Management Plan (EMP) may highlight some additional supports that could be needed for certain activities. You may need to work with your child’s school to develop a Risk Management Plan for these activities.

Key questions to consider when developing the plan include:

• What sort of seizures does your child have?
• Does your child lose consciousness during the seizure?
• Does your child get a warning before a seizure?
• Are there any known seizure triggers?
• How well controlled are the seizures?
• What sort of support is required during and following a seizure?
• What type of supervision may be required for a camp, excursion or special event?
• How do you and your child feel about going on a camp, excursion or special event?

Because the diagnosis of epilepsy can be complex and evolving, communication between schools and family is important to inform diagnosis and treatment as well as to ensure that your child’s needs are identified and met.

A good communication strategy would follow the Learning Conversations guide and include:

  • identification of the key staff member for the family to liaise with
  • documentation of seizure occurrences via communication books, seizure diary, emails or text messages

The Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Epilepsy Policy outlines further considerations for inclusive practices.

Inclusive schools: Your rights and responsibilities in education eBook
A family resource that provides guidance to common inclusion questions with accompanying practical strategies and approaches to managing risk.

This eBook is designed to be read online, and has active links to additional resources and information.

Disclosing your epilepsy – to get the job done
This is a student resource and is included here for parents/guardians so that you can support your child as he/she embarks on a work placement. This practical resource will guide your child through the considerations and implications involved in disclosing their epilepsy within a ‘need-when-how’ framework.

Epilepsy Plans

An Epilepsy Smart School will also ensure that all required completed and signed plans for your child are obtained from you:

Epilepsy Management Plan (EMP)

The EMP documents your child’s seizure description and what to do in the event of a seizure, the impact of seizures on your child and the post seizure support required. The EMP also identifies whether emergency medication has been prescribed and when to call OOO.

  • The Epilepsy Foundation EMP template (Know Me, Support Me) is used
  • The plan is current and updated yearly, having been endorsed by the doctor
  • All relevant school staff have ready access to the student’s EMP

Emergency Medication Management Plan (EMMP)

The EMMP is the schools authority for a trained person to administer emergency medication to your child in the event of a seizure requiring an emergency response. The EMMP also provides information on when to call OOO.

  • The Epilepsy Foundation EMMP (Midazolam or Rectal Valium/Diazepam) template is used
  • The EMMP is completed and endorsed by the doctor prescribing the medication and updated annually
  • The EMMP is attached to the EMP and is readily available to all trained school staff

Epilepsy Smart Schools understand that the administration of emergency medication is not a substitute for emergency treatment, and only staff who have received appropriate student specific training in accordance with the EMMP can administer the medication to your child.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Epilepsy Policy provides further guidelines for schools on training and the administration of emergency medication.

Epilepsy Management Plan (EMP) and Emergency Medication Management Plan (EMMP)
Templates for both plans and supporting guidelines for completion are available on the Epilepsy Foundation website.