More than 45,000 children – those under the age of 18 – are diagnosed with epilepsy every year.
Children who experience epilepsy – known as pediatric epilepsy – require special care and attention to ensure effective treatment and management of the condition. This often involves work not only in terms of medical treatment, but also adds support for psychological, social, and education issues that may present as a result of the condition.
Children may experience seizures somewhat differently when compared to adults. Common symptoms include:
Staring into space and a lack of response to stimuli
Confusion or wandering
Jerks and twitches across the body, but particularly in the limbs
Shaking or falling
Many parents worry that their children will not be able to lead a “normal” life after being diagnosed with epilepsy. While this is an understandable concern, it is vital that parents are aware of the advances that have been achieved just in the last few years of epilepsy treatment. These advances, combined with a new medical understanding of the disorder and its treatment options, mean that many children with the condition will be able to live a life that is little different from those of their peers.
For parents who wish to ensure their child has the best chance of achieving a normal life, it’s helpful to focus on providing an overall healthy lifestyle. This should include a good diet that is rich in nutrients, as well as active hobbies such as indoor and outdoor sports. While it’s advisable to provide some level of seizure precautions where necessary – and particularly for activities such as swimming or anything involving motor vehicles – these can usually be accommodated with relative ease. If you are confused or concerned about what your child can and cannot do, then discuss your concerns with your child’s treatment team, as they will have the best insight into what is – and isn’t – suitable.