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. But 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. An Epilepsy Smart School (ESS) is a school which embeds inclusive, safe and educationally sound practices for all primary, secondary and special school students living with epilepsy. There are three steps that need to be completed to be recognised as an Epilepsy Smart School:
√ Hold specific epilepsy management plans for each of your students with epilepsy
Schools must ensure that Epilepsy Management Plans (EMP) are held for each student living with epilepsy. And where emergency medication has been prescribed, a current Emergency Medication Management Plan (EMMP) must be in place. Once you have completed this step, all staff with a duty of care must complete Epilepsy and Emergency Medication training to administer emergency medication.
√ Participate in epilepsy specific training
Schools must be aware of the impact of epilepsy on the student. This step will give teachers an understanding of the psychological, social and cognitive impact of living with epilepsy and how this may affect a student in their classroom. This requirement can be met through completing Epilepsy and Emergency Medication training. This training will direct school staff teaching practice, ensuring that the expectations of schools under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 are met.
√ Hold an event that promotes better awareness and understanding of epilepsy
Schools must educate the student body about epilepsy. This step can be completed using resources from this website, either through embedding epilepsy education within the curriculum (e.g. completing the Epilepsy Smart Quiz within health studies) or hosting an awareness raising campaign, such as a purple day event.
How will your school be recognised?
Recognised Epilepsy Smart Schools receive a certificate to highlight their commitment to supporting all students with epilepsy, as well as access to promotional materials.
How to use this website
The ESS Practical Guide and suite of resources available on this website provides information on how a school can become epilepsy smart. This guide and all associated resources are available as downloadable PDFs. 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 parents/guardians, schools and students.
Download the ESS Practical Guide (PDF 661KB)
Follow the Government Policy link below to find out more about the health and wellbeing policy that applies in your state or territory, the requirements of your school for supporting a student living with epilepsy and where you can go to get the training you need.
The impact on a child’s learning is related to how many seizures they have
Children who only have occasional seizures or whose seizures occur while they are asleep can have their learning impacted
You always know when a child is having a seizure
Sometimes a child may also have abnormal electrical activity that may not be noticeable to the child or an observer, however it may influence the child’s thinking, concentration, mood or behaviour
All children with epilepsy lose consciousness
Seizures can involve the child being fully aware, having altered awareness or being unconscious