What is an Epilepsy Smart School?
What is an Epilepsy Smart School?
A recognised Epilepsy Smart School is one that understands epilepsy and puts in place inclusive practices to support a student with epilepsy to achieve their academic potential and develop positive social relationships. It takes a whole school approach working with the student with epilepsy, other students, teachers, staff, parents/guardians and the school community.
There are three steps that need to be completed to be recognised as an Epilepsy Smart School:
√ Current Epilepsy Management Plans (EMP) are held for each student living with epilepsy. Additionally where emergency medication has been prescribed, a current Emergency Medication Management Plan (EMMP) is held
√ School staff are aware of the impact of epilepsy on the individual and their learning through participating in epilepsy specific training. Where a student has an EMMP, all school staff with a duty of care responsibility for that student have received student specific epilepsy training
√ School staff educate students about epilepsy using resources from the Epilepsy Smart Schools website either through embedding education within curriculum or supporting an awareness raising campaign such as a purple day event.
Training provided will direct school staff teaching practice ensuring that the expectations of schools under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 are met.
This website is based on the Epilepsy Smart Schools – A Practical Guide (PDF 661KB) 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 assist your school to support students with epilepsy.
If at any time you have a question about a student with epilepsy please contact the Epilepsy Australia Information Line on 1300 852 853. Due to Privacy Laws any information provided can only be of a generic nature unless a signed Consent to Release Information has been provided to the relevant Epilepsy Australia member organisation. Please contact your local Epilepsy Australia member organisation for further information.
An Epilepsy Smart School ensures that:
- Parents/guardians who have a student who is transitioning into primary school/secondary school/special school or between schools, utilise the Transition Checklist (PDF 1247KB).
- An appropriate student support plan is developed in consultation between the school and parent/guardian as required.
- Clear communication pathways are documented between home and school, relating to seizure frequency and any learning, health or social concerns.
- Teachers complete epilepsy training, available from your local Epilepsy Australia member organisation, that includes an understanding of the impact of epilepsy on the student.
- Students with epilepsy are supported (when consent has been gained and it is appropriate) to educate peers about their epilepsy.
- Teachers have current First Aid and CPR training.
- Risks are managed appropriately especially as it relates to individually supervision for students with epilepsy during water activities at all times.
Refer to your state or territory government policy to find out about specific training requirement for school staff in your state or territory.
The Transition Checklist (PDF 1247KB) is a families resource and is included here for schools so that school staff can support families prepare for transition into primary, secondary or special schools. This practical resources provides a checklist for parents/guardians to consider prior to their child moving into primary, secondary or special schools or when moving schools.
Children with epilepsy: a teacher’s resource
The Children with epilepsy: a teacher’s resource (PDF 589KB) accompanies epilepsy training sessions, and is a great resource for teachers summarising the impact of epilepsy on a student.
Seizure First Aid Poster
The Seizure First Aid Poster (PDF 246KB) for A4 or A3 printing can be displayed in your school.
Educating others about epilepsy
Epilepsy Smart Postcard
These A5 Epilepsy Smart Postcard (PDF 1MB) accompany the diversity presentations, and are a great summary of what epilepsy is. It also encourages students to take the Epilepsy Smart online quiz.
Epilepsy Smart Quiz
This quick Epilepsy Smart Quiz is done online, and when successfully completed, a certificate with the student’s name can be printed.
A great way for your school to demonstrate that they have met the third step in becoming an Epilepsy Smart School.
Peer Educator Program
The main goal of the Peer Educator Program is for peer educators to learn about epilepsy and the impacts it can have on individuals and their families. Then using our Prezi presentations educate other students about epilepsy.
The program strives to educate all students to recognise and value diversity in themselves and others and is peer led.
Click here to access all the Peer Educator Program resources.
Schools and Early Learning settings are fantastic environments to begin developing understanding and positive attitudes towards epilepsy in the community. We have put together a range of Classroom Activities (PDF 1MB) which can assist you.
These activities are particularly useful during the month of March, which aligns to Purple Day, but can be used at any time during the year to reinforce epilepsy understanding and awareness using color and play.
What is Purple Day?
In 2008 nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada, started Purple Day in an effort to get people talking about the disorder and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. Cassidy named the day ‘Purple Day’ after the internationally recognised colour for epilepsy – lavender. On the 26th March (Purple Day) people from around the globe are asked to spread the word about epilepsy by wearing purple.
Consider embedding a Classroom Activities (PDF 1MB) into your school’s curriculum during the month of March.
Recommended reading list for children
Reading is important, when a child learns to read and then reads to learn they expand their understanding exponentially. The world becomes less scary, the unknown becomes known. They learn that they are not alone.
This recommended reading list for children (PDF 1MB) is filled with books that have been selected as suitable reading for children of all ages. The books cover a range of subjects related to living with epilepsy, enabling the child to learn about epilepsy through stories that they can relate to.
Epilepsy and Emergency Medication training
An Epilepsy Smart School recognises that:
- Some students may need additional:
- individualised support around learning, especially around memory, attention, thinking skills or behaviour
- special consideration during exams and tests (most commonly additional reading time, additional breaks)
- social support
- Parents/guardians should be consulted if learning or social issues arise, and rechgnises that either the parent or teacher can initiate a learning conversation
- When Individual Learning Plans and Student Support Groups are initiated that parents/guardians should be actively engaged in these meetings
Refer to your state or territory government policy to find out more about health, wellbeing, learning and assessment adjustments supported in your state or territory.
Learning conversations about epilepsy: a parent and teacher’s resource
The Learning conversations about epilepsy (PDF 457KB) resource will help parents/guardians and teachers work together to better understand what the possible learning implications may be for the student with epilepsy.
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 the student, and ensure that:
- Consultation with the parent/guardian and where appropriate, the student, occurs with regard to risk management for day-to-day school requirements, excursions, camps and other school activities
- All risk assessments are based on each student’s unique circumstances
- Reasonable adjustments are made in order to enable the student with epilepsy to attend excursions, camps and other school activities
- Parents are not required to attend school to administer medication, provide medical support or in-class/excursion support
- Parents understand their rights in relation to inclusive schools
- Students involved in workplace placements are supported to understand the implications of disclosure
Refer to your state or territory government policy for further information on the inclusive practice requirements in your state or territory.
Risk – a balanced approach
The A3 resource Risk – a balanced approach (PDF 224KB) provides a suggested student-centred approach when considering risk.
Disclosing your epilepsy – to get the job done
The Disclosing your epilepsy – to get the job done (PDF 827KB) student resource is included here for teachers so that you can support your student with epilepsy as he/she embarks on a work placement. This practical resource will guide your student through the considerations and implications involved in disclosing their epilepsy within a ‘need-when-how’ framework.
An Epilepsy Smart School will hold the appropriate documentation for any student with epilepsy, this includes:
Epilepsy Management Plan (EMP)
The EMP documents the student with epilepsy’s seizure description and what to do in the event of a seizure, the impact of seizures on the student and the post seizure support required. The EMP also identifies whether emergency medication has been prescribed and when to call 000.
- Epilepsy: Know me, support me – EMP template 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)
Where emergency medication has been prescribed for a student with epilepsy, the EMMP is the schools authority for a trained person to administer the emergency medication in the event of a seizure requiring an emergency response. The EMMP also provides information on when to call 000.
- Epilepsy: Know me, support me – EMMP (midazolam or rectal 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
School staff are trained based on the individual requirements documented in these plans.
Refer to your state or territory government policy to find out more about health and wellbeing documentation and specific training requirement for school staff in your state or territory.
Great, you have made your way here! follow your state or territory link below to register as an Epilepsy Smart School.
What are the benefits of being an Epilepsy Smart School?
- You are promoting a safe and inclusive environment for students living with epilepsy.
- Your students are able to reach their academic potential.
- School staff will have a better understanding of government policy requirements and the expectations of teachers in supporting a student living with epilepsy.
- Teacher standards are being adhered to in relation to supporting all students in a safe and inclusive manner.
- Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in continuing professional development.
- Your school has the opportunity to play an important part in raising epilepsy awareness.
There are three steps that schools must complete to be recognised as an Epilepsy Smart School:
√ current Epilepsy Management Plans (EMP) are held for each student living with epilepsy. Additionally where emergency medication has been prescribed, a current Emergency Medication Management Plan (EMMP) is held
√ school staff are aware of the impact of epilepsy on the individual and their learning through participating in epilepsy specific training. Where a student has an EMMP, all school staff with a duty of care responsibility for that student have received student specific epilepsy training
√ school staff educate students about epilepsy using resources from the Epilepsy Smart Schools website either through embedding education within curriculum or supporting an awareness raising campaign such as a purple day event.
Register online for free today.
Epilepsy Smart Schools Program
An Epilepsy Smart School is one that understands epilepsy and puts in place inclusive practices to support a student with epilepsy to achieve their academic potential and develop positive social relationships. It takes a whole school approach working with the student with epilepsy, other students, teachers, staff, parents/guardians and the school community.
Register online to commence recording your progress against the three key goals to becoming an Epilepsy Smart School. On completion of the three steps you will have access to your schools Certificate of Recognition and supporting badges which you can use to showcase your achievement in becoming an Epilepsy Smart School.
Once registered you will receive a program log in and password by email so that you can self-manage your Epilepsy Smart School registration and progress.
VIC & NSW: learning.epilepsyfoundation.org.au
SA & NT: learningesant.epilepsyfoundation.org.au