Epilepsy and cognitive disability resources

Characteristics and behaviours associated with a person’s cognitive disability, as well as potential difficulty tolerating or participating in certain tests and investigations, can sometimes make it more complex and lengthy to diagnose epilepsy. People living with a cognitive disability and epilepsy may have more severe, difficult to control seizures and an increased risk of SUDEP.

Treatments for people living with a cognitive disability and epilepsy can sometimes be more complex due to other medical or health conditions. People living with a cognitive disability may need help from their circle of support to manage their prescribed anti-epileptic drugs (AED) and epilepsy management strategies.

The epilepsy and cognitive disability section of our website offers details about the prevalence of disability and epilepsy, tips for providing the best support, the importance of exercising person-centred care and communication, legal consent considerations, and advocacy and inclusion rights. You may find other sections of the website which explore epilepsy, diagnosis, treatment, impacts, and life stage matters useful also.

Epilepsy New Zealand has developed a suite of Know Me, Support Me resources for people living with epilepsy and a cognitive disability, their families, support workers and communities. The resources include practical guides, information sheets, tools, and an easy English booklet to use when discussing epilepsy with a person who may have communication barriers.

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