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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Explaining Epilepsy to Young Kids

When G was diagnosed with epilepsy, I asked the pediatrician and my mom (a nurse) how they would best describe it, and this is what I came up with, combining their responses.

I explained that everyone has electricity in their brain happening all the time (like lights turning on and off in certain rooms), but she has some extra electricity that can sometimes distract her from what she is doing (like all the lights flashing at the same time really fast) and cause a seizure. The electricity doesn't hurt (just like it doesn't hurt you in your brain), but she could get hurt when her brain gets distracted, like by falling off monkey bars or her bike, which is why she needs to take medicine to try to control the extra electricity. She can still do all the normal things that kids do and she isn't sick. She just needs to take medicine to keep her safe.

I also found some information explaining epilepsy to kids here. There are some questions on the left hand side that answer a lot of questions simply. One thing I got from that site was explaining that the medicine kind of puts your seizures to sleep, which is why you have to take it every day.

It's not scientific, exactly, but it seemed to do the job! If any of you have ideas or experience with explaining epilepsy to young kids and their siblings or friends, please leave a comment!

And just in case you were wondering, what G experienced last week was most likely an atypical absence seizure, because it lasted so long and she had a slow recovery time and a period of confusion.


Angela said...

I was trying to google it myself to figure out how it works. My neighbor was just diagnosed with epilepsy and they did a 2 week stay in the hospital to see what part of the brain was causing the seizures. His was caused by getting hit in the head with a football 9 years ago. He went fully unconscious then and had to have some of his brain removed to come back alive. Now that part of his brain is acting up again and he's having daily seizures. He can't drive anymore and has to be driven to/from work and be on meds. All from a football game! You just never know. I'm so sorry about G. I hope the medicine works but without many side effects.

Jessica-MomForHim said...

G's epilepsy wasn't caused by an injury, so her seizures are not localized to a certain part of her brain. It's more like ALL the lights in ALL the rooms are flashing at the same time, not just one.

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