Epilepsy Information for Teachers

Epilepsy and Education

At Epilepsy New Zealand we know that being responsible for the welfare and education of a child with epilepsy can seem daunting, but we have plenty of information and resources to help education professionals.

Many young people with epilepsy don’t have special educational needs and may never experience a seizure at school. About two thirds of children with epilepsy do underachieve academically, and a minority will experience seizures during school time. We hope that by working together with education professionals, we can make sure that the educational needs of young people with epilepsy are met, and that they can feel safe at school.

On this site, you will find information on first aid for epilepsy; and epilepsy awareness including the different types of seizures and triggers. Epilepsy New Zealand’s professionally trained Information and Support Specialists can explain how epilepsy may affect young people at school; advice on school activities, including swimming and educational visits; and higher education and careers advice for young people with epilepsy. A news section, summaries of our education research, and resources for teachers complete the picture.

If you have any questions, need further resources or can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact your local Epilepsy Information and Support Specialist, freephone 0800 EPILEPSY.

Epilepsy is a very individual condition and every person with epilepsy is different. Epilepsy New Zealand recommends that teachers find out as much as possible about a child’s epilepsy, from the child and their parents or carers. The type of information that would be useful might include some of the following:

  • What type of seizures a child has
  • How long they last and what they look like
  • What first aid is appropriate and what care the child will need after the seizure
  • Any particular conditions or events that might trigger a seizure
  • Whether the child has a warning (aura) before a seizure
  • How often routine medication is taken and what side-effects may be experienced
  • What constitutes a medical emergency for the child, and what to do in such an emergency
  • Whether emergency medication has been prescribed and how it should be administered
  • Which, if any, activities the child’s parents or carers and medical professionals have advised them to avoid
  • Whether the child has any other medical conditions
  • Whether the child has had any learning difficulties or disability identified
  • How much understanding the child has of their condition and its treatment.