Growing up with partial-onset seizures can be especially difficult for children. At a time when they’re learning who they are and expanding their worlds, seizures can restrict their activities and independence.
Caring for a child with partial-onset seizures gives you a lot to think about—from day-to-day activities to managing their treatment.
It's important to work with your child's doctor to find the best treatment approach for your child, and follow
How your child’s partial-onset seizures affect everyday life may be a big concern for you and your family.
Having a schedule for taking their medicine can be very helpful for children with epilepsy. It's important to give your child their medicine at the same time every day.
Doctors may recommend a ketogenic diet (a special high-fat, low-carb diet) for some people whose seizures have not responded to several antiepileptic medicines. Following a ketogenic diet has been shown to help reduce seizures in some people. Talk to your child’s doctor to determine if a ketogenic diet may help him/her.
For more information and ketogenic recipe ideas, visit The Charlie Foundation.
You may be concerned about how others will react to your child having epilepsy. But it’s important to help them understand how epilepsy affects your child and how they can help if your child has a seizure.
The fact sheet that you can download below may help others understand the signs of epilepsy in children, what your child’s seizures look like, and how to give seizure first aid.
Caring for a child with partial-onset seizures may leave you feeling scared or stressed.
There are a number of online communities that offer support for parents and caregivers of people with epilepsy. You may want to connect with other parents who understand what you’re going through and can share what has worked for them. And, of course, talk to your child’s doctor about any concerns you have about your child’s seizures or medication.
As your teenager gets older, they might want to take a more active role in managing their own health.
Talking to their doctor directly about any concerns and making decisions about their seizure treatment may help them feel more involved.
An important way for your teen to take care of him or herself is to take their seizure medicine exactly as their doctor prescibed it.
Your child may grow a lot and quickly during the teenage years. For these reasons, they may need to see their doctor regularly to make sure the dose of their antiepileptic drug is right for their weight and that treatment is going well.
Here are some things to keep in mind as your teen becomes more independent and encounters some common activities and concerns of the teen years.
Most states require people with epilepsy to be free of seizures for a certain period of time, and some states may require a report from your child’s doctor saying that it's safe for them to drive. Consult your child's doctor first. Each state has its own laws. You can look up your state’s epilepsy driving laws below.
A seizure trigger is something that can cause someone to have a seizure. Keeping track of events that may be related to your child’s seizures, especially what they were doing leading up to a seizure, can be helpful in determining his or her seizure triggers. Some possible triggers are noted below. Talk to your child’s doctor about any triggers you notice.
Sensitivity to light: for some people, seizures can be set off by flashing or flickering lights or moving patterns like stripes or checks. If this is a trigger for your child, be mindful when he or she is watching TV, playing computer games, or using a smartphone.
Loud noises and too much excitement: loud music, theme park rides, and crowds can raise excitement levels or stress levels, or may be tiring, which for some people could trigger a seizure.
Being overtired: staying up late to study may lead your teen to sacrifice sleep. But lack of sleep may be a seizure trigger for some people.
Doctors may recommend a ketogenic diet for people whose seizures have not responded to several different seizure medicines. Many restaurants will make adjustments to menu items for people who follow a strict diet, like the ketogenic diet, so let your teen know they shouldn't be afraid to ask. Talk to your child's doctor to determine if a ketogenic diet may help your child.
School is probably a big part of your child’s life. Talking to your teen's teachers about how partial-onset seizures affect your child may help, since the more they understand, the more they may be able to help your child if they have a seizure in class.
According to federal law, your child cannot be denied education because of his/her seizures. You can learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act here.