Why should your school become an Epilepsy Smart School?What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a medical condition that affects the brain and causes seizures. Everyone’s brain sends electrical messages to their body, which tell the body what to do. Seizures happen because of a disruption to electrical activity in the brain, leading to a change in a person’s movement, behaviour, level of awareness and/or feelings. 1 in 200 students has epilepsy. This means every teacher is likely to teach a child with epilepsy during their career.
The Epilepsy Smart Schools program has been developed to support students, teachers and schools.
All schools have a duty of care to provide a safe learning environment for all students and ensure they accommodate the needs of all students.
Epilepsy can have a big impact on a child’s experience at school due to the impact of seizures and any medication they may be taking, making it hard for a child to concentrate or remember information from class. Epilepsy is more than just seizures and first aid training is not enough. There are over 40 types of epilepsy and everyone’s experience with the condition is different.
Teachers need to understand the impact of epilepsy on student learning, as well as having epilepsy-specific training in understanding and managing epilepsy.
Click to learn more about specific Australian Government policy as well as State Government requirements.How to become an Epilepsy Smart School
There are three steps to becoming a recognised Epilepsy Smart School.
Epilepsy can have a big impact on a child’s experience at school. Part of this may be due to seizures and medication, making it hard for a child to concentrate or remember information from class. However, part of this is also due to the stigma and discrimination still felt by many living with epilepsy today.
Every child’s experience of epilepsy is different and therefore supporting them at school will require an individualised approach. Becoming an Epilepsy Smart School shows that your school has an inclusive learning environment.
Each student with epilepsy should have an Epilepsy Management Plan (EMP). Where emergency medication may be required, a current Emergency Medication Management Plan (EMMP) should be in place.
What if our school does not have any students with epilepsy?
If you do not currently have any known students with epilepsy, you can still become an Epilepsy Smart School.
All teachers with a duty of care need to have an understanding of epilepsy and Epilepsy Management Plans and, where required, training for the application of emergency medication.
Part of reducing stigma is to educate the student body about epilepsy. You can access our online resources to add to your curriculum, or simply take part in a Purple Day activity to raise awareness. You can do this by:
(a) register to take part in a Purple Day activity
(b) use our classroom resources
How will you be recognised?
Once you have completed the three steps to becoming an Epilepsy Smart School, you can print your own certificate to show parents, students and visitors that your school has an environment where students with epilepsy are safe and not alone. Your school will also have access to promotional material to show you are a recognised Epilepsy Smart School.
The Epilepsy Smart Schools website is an initiative developed and provided by the Epilepsy Foundation. This website and the associated resources have been made possible through the support of the Victorian Department of Education and Training, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, UCB, Epilepsy Australia and the generosity of our donors. The contributions of paediatric neurologist Dr Jeremy Freeman (Royal Children’s Hospital), senior clinical neuropsychologist Dr Silvana Micallef (Austin Health) and the Disability Discrimination Legal Service into the development of resources are particularly acknowledged.