Epilepsy and Learning disabilies..... Hand in Hand or Fluke???

Amanda - posted on 02/07/2009 ( 50 moms have responded )

8

10

0

My 6 year old daughter is showing signs of learning disables in school. She is super smart and even advanced in most areas. Could it just be her epilepsy? She has staring seizures that can last from 10seconds to over two minutes. Does anyone have any experience with academic struggles because of seizures. Any advice as to what I should do? She is going to see a behavioral psychologist as soon as possible but it may take months. I hate to see her in tears because her friends are doing so much better than her even though she "gets it"


Any and all help is welcome.

Thanks

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tabitha - posted on 03/15/2009

5

28

2

Ok, this is going to be a long one, but I hope it helps. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy as a child and my family has a history of it. I was in tears the first time that my youngest son had a seizure. He had his first in the first grade. He was doing so good in school and then when he went to second, it was like he was in the twilight zone. He could not pay attention and I was worried that he might have ADHA like his older brother. Anyway, by January of that year, we were already talking retemtion for the 2nd grade andthen he had his second seizure. Just like the first round of testing, nothing was found, but I told the Doc of his troubles in school with paying attention. The doc said that he may be having absconce seizures in school and decided to try a two year trial of medicine. I tell you what, his second year of second grade was great. In the next year and a half, he flew. We were a week from starting to wean him off his medicine when he had his third seizure and it was a doozie. This time the tests came back with seizure activity. It has been over a year since then and his medicine has been raised several times. It was in the third grade that his teacher suggested that he be tested for learning disabilities. They did not find anything, but because he was having absconce seizures in school and would sometimes miss whole blocks of lesson time, they decided that it would be in his best interest to be in the EC program. It was the best thing that they could have ever done for him. He is in the 4th this year and made the AB honor roll for the first time. I have never seen a kid smile as big as he did when his name was called out for being on it. He still has these seizures in school and his teacher knows what to look for and can tell his EC teacher what was missed if she sees him having one. Our school has went aboveand beyond anything that I expected to make sure that my son gets the best education possible. Keep on going and never give up, it will all get better. I still have those crazy middle school years to get through, but I know that I can handle it. I am my sons best advocate and if you have to pull out the big guns, your child's Doctor is some major fire power.

Elise - posted on 04/01/2013

5

0

0

Yes
I have been epileptic on and off since I was 2 months old
I have had learning disabilities but while it was difficult being different in elementary the further in school I went my disability became bennificial. I was able to get help and accomadtions through the center for disability services (CDS) And get tutoring notes and help to graduate college with a BS in FCS

Crystal - posted on 07/18/2009

10

28

0

My niece is 6 yrs old and is being held back in kindergarden b/c what the docs believe to be learning disablities due to her seizures. We thought she was having about 10 seizures a day until an extended EEG that was hooked up to her at home for 5 days was done and they found that she was having up to 1500 seizures a day. Not all seizure are noticable so depending on how many a child is having they can cause learing problems especialy in a school setting.

Dawn - posted on 07/17/2009

1

9

0

My 19 year old son began having absence seizures when he was about 8 years old. At the time we didn't know that there even was such a thing as absence seizuresbut at the age of 10 he had a full blown tonic-clonic seizure while we were going down the road on a very bright sunny day. After being rushed to the Emergency room things began to fall into place as far as getting diagnosed. Up to that point my son made good grades (A's,B's,C's). He was a happy, smiling, smart typical little boy. After being diagnosed with epilepsy and starting Depakote his grades dropped, he became more somnolent, his speech response during conversations were delayed, and he began having periods of anxiety and anger. I can't say if this was from the meds or the epilepsy. During his middle school years he got into trouble for doing things to impress other kids, I know to feel accepted. This pattern of behavior continued into high school until finally on the verge of expulsion for cutting school I took him out and home schooled him for a while. During the time he was in school after finding out about his epilepsy he was placed on an IEP plan (on paper anyway) and little else was done to help him academically. Each year I would print out individual letters to each of his teachers about his epilepsy, what to expect, his medication side effects, and things that needed to be reported and each year I received thank you notes for the information but I saw very little actual help and accommodations in regards to his disorder. I know in my heart that my son finally gave up. I saw his self esteem plummet, and each time he is turned down for a job its plummets even more. The last straw for public school was when the assistant principle (who was a pompous ass screamed at him with me present to "Get the hell Out of His School". When I asked for his records, the VP refused. When I showed up at the expulsion hearing with my home school association membership and attorneys names the school district had no choice but to allow me to withdraw my son from their "oh-so-competent" educators and community leaders. During his home school sessions I found my son to be introspective and insightful. He's very intelligent but couldn't focus well in a classroom setting. At home in a more relaxed atmosphere he excelled. We later had im evaluated by Dr. Joy Wymer , a top neuropsychologist from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She was able to confirm that he had a learning disorder (ADD) in addition to social and developmental delays. However since that time my son has had increasingly riskier behavior, some legal problems, and he continues to have occasional seizures. He still doesn't have a drivers license which is devastating in itself to a 19 year old. With every setback and every type of rejection your heart breaks and bleeds for your child. You get angry on their behalf and you feel helpless. Don't let that anger and helpless feelings get in your way. Fight with every breath for your child. Never give up and like one of the moms said keep pestering the teachers. Hold them accountable, even if you have to hire an attorney. My son's first pediatric neurologist didn't want to acknowledge that his medications or seizures affected his learning and behavior but looking back I knew my son far better than he did. YOU know your child. Follow your instincts. Never give up on them!

Tracey - posted on 04/14/2009

28

41

4

My son is 5 and starting kindergarten next year. He was diagnosed with a seizure disorder when he was about 18 months old and is currently on Keppra. He definitely has learning delays and we were panicked that he couldn't remember any letters or numbers by sight. I did a little experiment after reading an article online about auditory processing disorder (he probably doesn't have it but I though that it wouldn't hurt to try some of the strategies). Anyway, the article recommended filtering out distractions and either speak into a microphone connected to headphones or watch a video with headphones. I decided to put on some old Brainy Baby DVDs (specifically the ABCs) int he car so he could watch with the headphones and he's starting to learn his letters. We've found that he seizes when he gets stressed or he shuts down a little when it's noisy so this approach seems to be helping.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

50 Comments

View replies by

Chatara - posted on 07/08/2014

1

0

0

My daugher is on Keppra and Lamictal it keeps her from having seizures. She is very delayed in school, hyper, and can be very sensitve at times. She has had her seizures since she was 6 months and now she is 7. I took her off her seizure medicine for a month, she was calm, she retain information very easily then. The next month she siezed all most every day what a nightmare. Her doctor and I thought she was ready to come off the seizure medicine. I cried I was so happy and enjoyed her even more. This is very difficult to deal with

David - posted on 04/10/2014

2

0

0

I was diagnosed with absence seizures when I was in 7th grade. I had typical absence seizures during my childhood years leading up to that, until that September in 1975, when I had two absence status events, each lasting all day long. The EEG showed severe epilepsy. When my mother sat me down to tell me that, she said it was the most severe of its kind and she referred to it as atypical seizures. I had been what I considered an above average student. I was placed on zarontin and was directed to take one in the morning, and one at night. Although I did not take the medicine as religiously as I was directed, the seizures ceased. I graduated high school on time in 1981 and went on to complete a computer science degree from college. During my high school years, I did find it somewhat hard to concentrate or stay focused, but I attributed that to other interests including friends. The zarontin may have made me a little more sleepy, but I also stayed up late, so it's really hard to tell. My mother was a strong behaviorist. A lot of her "tough love" may have helped me snap out of it and I made sure I completed assignments and studied for tests. The bottom line is, aside from the side effects of medicine, a diagnosis of absence seizures alone does not constitute a predisposition to learning disabilities or poor academic performance. Chances are, your child will turn out just fine and lead a successful, normal life. It is good to get treatment for the seizures, because otherwise, they could progress to something more serious. Had my folks taken me to the doctor and had me tested, maybe I would not have had those two status seizures. But at the end of the day, I don't believe it made a difference in my outcome. I hope this message helps those who are concerned about their loved ones.

Dee - posted on 07/22/2009

2

6

0

Hi there,

My daughter, who is now 13, was diagnosed with complex partial seizures at age 9. She did struggle with school, but it was from the side effects of the medication. She was taking a generic for Tegretal. Each seizure she had the dr. increased her meds. By the end of December 2006 she could barely finish a sentence, her thought process was greatly reduced. She wasn't the same bright and cheery little girl. We switched her meds, and that brought it's own issues. Her hair fell out, she became anorexic and sleep constantly. (and still having seizures) All side effects of the meds. After many dr visits and changes in meds, she is now much better. Seizure free for 2 years. Hair has grown back thick and gorgeous, she is eating normal (for a 13 yo) and feels great. For the school advice, I have one thing to say. YOU are your daughter's advocate. No one else cares about her the way you do. No one else will do what needs to be done for her. Do not rely on anyone at the school to do what is right for her. I had many struggles to get to where we are now. No one helped me - not the principal, not the teacher, not the school physcologist, not the special ed director - NO ONE! I had to find out about 504 plans all by myself. I live in Calfornia, and each state is different. If there is any way I can help you please let me know. GOOD LUCK and GOD BLESS

Kimberly - posted on 07/20/2009

3

4

1

My son too has epilepsy and he is developmentally delayed... It gets much worse when his seizures(which are not ever fully controlled) are bad he is 4 and mentally only about 2.5 years and thats on a good day ... Our nuro says that the seizures are making it worse but if they were controlled that his development would inprove .... I find it very furstrating and so very hard some times but we have a good gsw and with her and his kindy they do things at his pace...I would ask the school for extra help and even ask your drs too as there maybe some other organisations that can help her out and the school ...I do know and understand how hard it is to watch your children shed tears over things that others just take for granted...

Susan - posted on 07/19/2009

5

4

0

I wish there was more awareness on seizures. We have breast cancer and colon cancer awareness, choleserol, etc.... Why not seizures? My daughter passed away from a seizure. She was diagnosed with complex partial seizures. I am a nurse and I did not know nor did any doctor tell me she could die from one. I have written to Oprah regarding this several times but have never had a response. Good luck to all of you out there who have to deal with your children's seizures. ~Susan Garcia, Fairmont, WV

Susan - posted on 07/19/2009

5

4

0

Yes! My daughter started having seizures when she was 13 yo. She went from a straight A student to average. Her teachers told me that she always stared out into space and that she wouldn't listen. Then she started waking up with bumps on her head, her mouth was all chewed up inside, etc. We found out she was having seizures. Back then there were no special classes for children with disabilities as there are today. You need to talk to the school counselor regarding this. My daughter was very bright and was later in the gifted program. She still struggled with her seizures and eventually she passed away at age 20 due to a seizure in her sleep. There are programs out there for you daughter.....you have to research. Please do all you can because I wish I would have has the opportunities available for my daughter. Good luck and God bless you and your daughter.

MARA - posted on 07/18/2009

1

5

0

Yes they go hand in hand. Coming from a person with Epilipsy and learning disabaled. Medications can play a role also.

Amy - posted on 07/17/2009

1

16

0

I have a 3 1/2 year old son who is showing signs of learning disabilities also. He still does not speak and we have an awful time communicating with him so there is much time spent with him throwing fits because I am sure he is frustrated that I don't know what he wants. He was in an early childhood special education preschool last school year and will repeat it this year. I have taken him to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital and they don't believe that I can blame the disabilities on the seizures or his meds. We are going back to talk to a behavioral psychologist and speech therapist in September.

Ann - posted on 07/16/2009

26

27

0

I hear what your going through with a public school just wanting what they call.. A special needs school & how they don't want kids/children like ours in their school system because they are afraid that having them come into their school would ( Being honest) "Taint ther Reputation" of being a great school district. I've been through it all because my daughter's public school is built a reputation of being reconized as a so called excellent/ blue ribbon school district... Neshaminy School District as a matter of fact!! Even with an IEP for her.. She is being left behind ( going into 6th grade & barely was taught Math, English, Science & has a reading ability of a 2nd grade level thanks to this school!! Read my recent post for more information!!

Ann - posted on 07/16/2009

26

27

0

Yes, Your not the only one who's been going through this. I have a soon to be 11year old daughter who has the same type of seizures to a point the school she last attended gave her a hard time because she's very smart, But tends not to want to suceed & is more worried about trying to make friends with kids who don't have disabilities instead of concentraiting on doing her school homework. Her Elm. School was trying to make out that she is what "They Deemed", As Retarded & I enrolled her in Special Education Classes , Hopeing they would at least make an effort to teach her & be more understanding with her. Towards the middle of last year, The damm Teacher insited ( "Being a special Education teacher"), wanted to "Pass The Buck" & have another Teacher basicly teach her..Saying my daughter was unteachable when this was a lie because my daughter as friendly as she is didn't like this teacher from the start & came home crying & said that this teacher who seemly didn't want to teach her was always on her personal cell or talking to her coworkers ( Regular Teachers), Saying Her students are stupid, dumb. So, Of course hearing this I confronted the teacher/ guidance/ principle in a IEP Meeting & told on the teacher/behavior & of course the School went out of its way to protect the teacher by saying my daughter is making up lies. My Daughter now doesn't even care & won't even pick up a book like she used to because in her mind, Thanks to the school.. She feels as if she won't suceed. I talked to her & told her to not listen to anyone ( Teachers, Students) when they try to put you down. I should mention that she also has speech delays which runs in the family. In Some cases speech delays maybe caused by siezure disorders, But speech problems are in my family because I also have to 2 Other kids. My Oldest Daughter doesn't have any problems & just turned 18 & graduated, But my Son who doesn't have any medicial issues.. has speech problems. At first I thought it was her taking too much meds. & as it turned out, As she grows more medicine was added ( upgrade to stop the starring seizures). Also, I noticed that my daughter ended up getting her monthly & sometimes before or even after she gets it seizures occurs. Watch for signs!!

I'm sorry this too to long, But I wanted you to know background & if you live in my area( Levittown, Pa) maybe we can hang out.

Lisa - posted on 07/16/2009

3

2

0

hi my name is lisa my six year old daughter has epilepsy. her seizures only started the a few months ago . i have noticed the change in her school work . she will have to go to speach thearphy because she has trouble rembering certain words .the medicine makes her tierd snd weepy .. im not sure if they grow out of it . any info you get if you could pass it on . thanks

Patti - posted on 07/14/2009

8

5

0

My son is 10 now. He was dignoised with congitively impaired at age 5 and seizures at 7. Learning disorder is different then seizures. he didn't start having seizures until he was 7 and it was do to a med that triggered the seizures. he only had it once and now the seizure are there for we don't know how long. but it did cause damage that he has grandma seizures. It is hard. we had him tested in alot of areas cuz the kids are school where harsh to say the least with my son. He is know in a different school that helps out with everything he needs and the school understand all his problems and know how to deal with them. When he was in public school he was also in special ed but even the teachers didn't know how to deal with a child like mine. He just ended up getting further and further behind. I ended up calling and pushing what is for special needs children and pushed for him to beable to go in to this school. He is doing alot better in this school now and thriving well. has learned to count and is actually reading now. check in your area for different programs and help that may be available to you. It has been wonderful now that i have done that.

Karin - posted on 07/12/2009

22

15

5

Some of the stories that have been shared could be about my son! He is almost 8, and was doing well in school until this past spring - which is when (I suspect) he started having (or increased) absence seizures. The only reason I suspected epilepsy was because my mom has it, and I knew what a seizure looks like. No one else put the pieces of the puzzle together because he also has ADHD, bipolar disorder, and ODD, and a panic disorder (and I'm hoping some of these are behavioral results of the seizures - stop the seizures, eliminate the effects/results). He's had a short EEG, which was normal, and an MRI, which shows two "lesions" in his brain and a "prominent Virchow-Robins space" which could be a seizure focal. (God, I hate doctor-speak!) He is having a 24 hour video EEG tomorrow.

I am hoping that if we can get a real diagnosis, and control the seizures, then perhaps some of the other problems will diminish, and he'll be able to function in school again, and maybe have a more normal life. It breaks my heart to hear him tell me that the other kids in his class make fun of him and call him stupid, and won't play with him or be friends with him. His basic academic skills are getting worse and worse, and his handwriting is unreadable. He can't even do simple math problems that he could easily do last year. He absolutely HATES school now. I am pushing for an IEP to be done by our school district, which has been more than frustrating as they are dragging their feet. One special Ed person even suggested putting him into a conduct disorder classroom, which is NOT appropriate!!! Thankfully, my son's teacher stood up for him and informed them that was absolutely the wrong thing to do. I just hope that we can get it all figured out before he loses more time....I hate to see him feeling so miserable, feeling stupid, and all of us being so out of control. Horrible illness, isn't it?

Megan - posted on 04/15/2009

6

13

0

I will tell you now that My son has had this same issue. He is only 3 years old but he has a delayed development. He was making huge strides in his development when he meds quit working. Before that he was sitting and almost crawling, after the seizures he could barely hold his head up. Just be patient and very vigilante, because it has only been about 6 months and he is almost back to where we started. My son is also on Lamictol and we have had to increase dosages a few times. Just stay on top of the doctors about how she is responding to treatment, and hopefully they can come up with a plan of care for her.

Beth - posted on 04/13/2009

5

0

0

My daughter is 8.  She was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2004 just before her 4th birthday.  She is in 2nd grade now and was recently diagnosed with a learning disability in Math.  She struggles in school and has even repeated kindergarten.  Her neuologist said that it's hard to tell whether or not her seizures have had anything to do with her learning troubles but we were able to use his diagnoses to help her qualify for extra help in school.  She now goes to resource for math and ever since, has been doing much better!  She has a benign form of epilepsy...only has them when she is asleep and her doctor is hopeful that she will outgrow them by the time she is a young teen.  I hope some of this helps!  Does not answer your question really but we were able to get her the extra help she needed based on the fact that she has epilepsy.  God bless and good luck to you!  Email me at tmeak@cebridge.net if you would like to know anything else!  Elizabeth Kohler

Kate - posted on 04/12/2009

37

9

3

Epileptic ( I know that is an awful old adage) kids learn in a different way!!!! They have short attention spans, need much sleep( to keep them on their toes) and much revision as they miss 2/3rds of what goes on in mainstream schools. In Australia classes of 22-25 in the US MAYBE 30 the child even though especially intelligent misses out simply by nos. Not by what they have to offer! In Australia they have Steiner schools although time is needed (POST ICTAL) for a sleep in the US a small school ,empathetic school or home tutoring although expensive is the only answer for your babe who thinks outside the box for which I admire!!!!! I have studied Cert 3 in Integration Aide and in 2009 am studying Disablity 4 and have chronic Epilepsy which is often or occassionally controlled by meds.. In Year 9 I told my parents that I was normal and everyone suffered from what I did but found I had epilepsy,,,,,,, No wonder all those reports said I could'nt/ or didn't want to concentrate yet I left year 11 with B's and returned to yr 12 English and Flew threw it!!!! I have 4 beautiful kids 3 with learning difficulties,,,,,, Totally unrelated to my epilepsy!!!! So Amanda give me a HI and I will catchya!!!!! Kate

Cathleen - posted on 04/10/2009

1

20

0

My 10 year old daughter has a severe seizure disorder. 3 years ago she had her first tonic clonic and when she was given Ativan she stopped breathing and had to be intibated and went into a coma. since then she has only had 1 other bad seizure. We recently found out she is allergic to Ativan which sucks but they say there are other things they can give her. She was also diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and has a severe behaviour disorder. I feel that all are connected to the epilepsy. she is on a whole slue of medications: Ritalin, Valproic Acid, Lamotragine, and Seroquel. Since then she has not had as many signs of seizures that we have noticed but she is having a terrible time in school. She has for the last 2 years only gone to school for and hour a day until recently when they found a Spec Ed class for her(hope it works).

Haley - posted on 04/05/2009

16

15

2

My son has absense seizures and I absolutely believe that it has an effect on his learning. He has short and long ones and the short ones usually go unnoticed, because of this I believe he misses information and I think that because he misses info he losses interest in what is going on because he doesn't understand which also can cause frustration. Hope this makes sense. I don't know what can be done about it, my only hope for my son is that the medication will help this to not happen.

Amber - posted on 04/04/2009

10

0

0

You could be describing my daughter! Yes seizures can affect learning, we have been super blessed to have a teacher in first grade who had a son with Absence seizures and who has been able to adapt the curriculum to the kids in her class who don't learn in the "normal" way. It has been immensely beneficial. Our daughter went through testing with the school district when she was 4 at the recommendation of our Pediatrician. The result was that there were some unexplained gaps but that they would wait until after her first year of school to see what was going on. Her kindergarten teacher wanted to have us look into meds for ADHD. Our pediatrician decided that we needed to rule out anything physical before going down that path. We saw a neurologist who saw some things that stood out so he ordered an EEG just to make sure there wasn't anything there. He was shocked at the results because he didn't think she was having seizures just developmental delays. The end result is that we aren't sure if the seizures are causing the delays or if the delays are causing the seizures. We haven't started her on meds because of concerns with the side effects. She is going through complete neuropsychological testing so that we have a baseline to see if the meds help or not.

It's hard for my daughter as she recognizes that she isn't the same as everyone else and that people are picking on her for the differences. As a mom it is so hard to watch.

Mandy - posted on 03/29/2009

16

70

3



My daughter has moderate/severe learning difficulties all brought about from her seizures.






Four times she has gone into staus,her first one was so bad that she had to be given 65ml of paraldahide  rectally and was kept in a coma for 10 days to recover. When she was brought out of the coma our 3 yr old had gone from knowing the alphabet , numbers up to 50 and being toilet trained to a baby again who had to be re-taught everything.






 






she is now 16 but her mental and learning curve is that of a 7-8 yr old.



 



 



Has your child been statemented yet?



Val - posted on 03/28/2009

5

27

0

Hi- my son is 5 years and 6 monthsold and was DX w/epilepsy at 1 1/2 yrs old. He is only learning at a 3year old level. His neurologist says his learning delays does coincide w/his epilepsy, because when he does have a seizure, he is missing out on what is being taught , then in a post-lictal state for a few hours. he has been having seizures 3-4 times a day since he was DX and is also on meds.



i hope this helps a little.

Jenise - posted on 03/28/2009

4

8

0

My 10 year old has some difficulties in school. His processing is slow. Even when he was in Kindergarten his teacher noticed it. She would ask him something and could see in his eyes that he knew it but it took a little longer for him to voice it. The school couldn't do anything about it at that point but comment on him maybe needing a 504 as he got older for extra help. We actually ended up with an IEP in 2nd grade due to Speech, needed help with his "r" sound. With that they worked in some other areas of help. I don't recall at the moment what all it had. He is in 4th grade this year we requested he be tested for learning disabilities to see if he needed special services. His doctor even wanted one done. He didn't need the special ed services but it did show the processing delay. I don't know if it from the Epilepsy itself or if it is from the medication that he is on or if he would of had anyway. He is a smart child who can't get things out as quick as other students. He has wonder teachers that work with him and with me to make sure he gets what he needs. You have to stay on top of it though, even bug them if you have to. One doctor he had even said that children with seizures have a harder time with reading/english etc than they do with math.

Lori - posted on 03/25/2009

1

6

0

My son Matthew had right temporal seizures which resulted in Complex Partial (starring) seizures.  My Nuero Psychologists believes his learning challenges are a result of the seizures. He was on 6 different types of medication before we took him to Miami Childrens Hospital for a Epileptic study. Matthew has both retention and comprehension problems. We have him set up with a 504 plan with  the school for modified learning.  Be sure to get with a counsiler at school and start setting up any program for learning available. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about Matthew story. He has been seizure free for 2.5 years and medication free since Nov. 2008. I know how hard it is to go through what you are going through. I am here if you need me. Lori

Heather - posted on 03/24/2009

1

6

0

Of course they go hand in hand, b/c the seizures affect certain parts of the brain...which may help you with some answers.

My son has had gross/fine motor skill issues ever since he was diagnosed w/ epilepsy this past summer. We have OT/PT both is school and out of school. Academics is a struggle and we are hoping through these therapies we can make some progress. My son is 7. Does your daughter have an IEP. My son is on kepprabut the behavioral side affects were horrible so he is now on Trileptal. The Lamictol did not help us, either.

Michelle - posted on 03/23/2009

132

13

21

Quoting Cornelia:



my 9 year old son has just been diagnosed with epilepsy and started medication - he has always been a vivacious child but since he started having seizures has displayed periods of extreme hyperactivity - could this be due to the seizures?  reading what has been written above - can someone please explain what an IEP is?  we are living in the mountains in Tuscany, Italy and his school is somewhat unprepared for his condition - for example there isn't even a nurse present at the school, so its up to us to educated the teachers and I'm keen to learn how mainstream american schools deal with these situations.






 






Many thanks.





An IEP is and Individual Education Plan.  The plan is put into place in school to assist the teachers with what your child needs to learn. 



 



My son, Guy, has had two IEP's this school year alone because last spring when my husband and I wanted him tested because he was in kindergarten but hadn't learned a darn thing they refused to test him.  We were told he had to repeat kindergarten and we would retest this spring...they didn't give us a choice.  After the first 12-weeks of his second year of kindergarten he was still showing no signs of improvement.  We demanded they retest him airgo the second IEP.  They tried to tell us it was his medication...Topamax that was causng his learning difficulties so the Neurologist switched him to Depakote telling us it has less of an effect on learning.  He is still having difficulty with remember what he is being taught.  With my son I do not believe the medications are what are affecting his learning I believe it is his seizures.

Liz - posted on 03/22/2009

1

19

0

I think the learning disabilities have everything to do with the medication your daughter is on.  My daughter was advanced in everything as well until she was put on to high of a dosage of depakote.  We went through a nightmare of health problems, steriod rages, and she even failed the 2nd grade.  I finally was able to talk the doctors into changing her meds to Zarontin,  this helped quiet a bit but the school was still telling me she was having a processing disability.  I have since stopped all medication as of October of 08, we have not had a single seizure,  she's got all A's and likes to go to school again.  Of course the DR. argued with me saying that the meds have nothing to do with the problems my child was having,  but its funny that as soon as we stopped them all of her health problems stopped as well.

Candice - posted on 03/21/2009

1

19

0

This sounds just like my daughter. She is now 14 but has had seizures for several years now. She was a very good student and loved school. She did everything  early as well. She walked, talked, crawled and rode a bike extremely early. Since the seizures she doesnt have a very good memory she hates school and has even failed a grade. She is on Trileptal and hates it. I have to watch her to make sure she takes it, thats how bad it is. I hate to hear that anyone else is going through this but it feels good to talk to someone that knows what Im going through.

[deleted account]

Hang in there. My daughter is 10 and sounds like they have the same seizures? Emily has atypical absence seizures. She struggled in school and still does at times.  She is labeld "a very gifted child and brilliant", however her grades don't reflect that always.  Have you tried ADHD meds?  I HATED the tought, but the two are really connected- ADHD and seizures, especially absence seizures.  She has done much better since we started them in first grade, she's now in forth grade. It's tough, if she's seizing frequently throughout the day, she's missing a lot of the information that is given.  It may not be a 'learning disability' so much as she is seizing frequently and "missing" most of the day.  Just some thoughts for you that I was thinking might help. 

Robin - posted on 03/17/2009

6

20

2

My daughter is 13 now and we believe her partial seizures started happening in the late 4th grade or early 5th grade. We are unsure because she never had any "normal" signs that one would normally notice. What we noticed were signs that her grades which had always been super were becoming no so great and we chalked it up to not enough effort, etc. In 6th grade she told me that sometimes she would not complete a task right away because she couldn't move. I didn't think to much of it because it only ever lasted a few seconds, but we did notice the grades were getting worse. This year she is in 7th and was playing sports (volleyball) and after a particularly hard day she was worn out, dehydrated and hungry. The next morning I found her laying face down on the sofa, panting. That was her first grand mal and the beginning of a long process to get some answers. Since then she has had a dozen more and missed countless days of school, partial or otherwise. Now she has been on kepra since the beginning of Feb. and slowly we are noticing that she is retaining more at school, of course a lot of this is due to the fact that she isn't experiencing partials during the day like she was. I do think that every kid is different in what will be experienced but we need to just try everything and get all of our experience and knowledge out there for others. Goodluck o you and everyone in this situation!

Drewin - posted on 03/17/2009

20

16

1

Keirah had a major status seizure at 2 years old. She was fully potty trained, knew her alphabet, numbers to 30 etc. She was sooo smart it wasn't funny, then she had this seizure. We had to reteach everything, and to this day (she is 10) we have major academic problems. I was told 3 things: 1. Major seizures such as these will often cause delays. Lack of oxygen and mixed signals in the brain are a few of the reasons. 2. Epileptics can have seizures while they are sleeping and often go undetected because we don't see them and they are asleep for the postictal period (the period of time after a seizure where they may be drowsy) Sometimes due to this short term memories are not converted to long term memories, as a result things they may have learned that day are suddenly "gone". 3. Many anticonvulsants cause memory problems as many people have already mentioned. It is hard for Dr.'s to pinpoint exactly what the cause may be, but maybe ask about an ambulatory eeg. That way she will have the eeg on all day and through the night at least so they can see if she is maybe having small unnoticable seizures that may be causing the problem. Good luck!

Cornelia - posted on 03/11/2009

11

18

2

my 9 year old son has just been diagnosed with epilepsy and started medication - he has always been a vivacious child but since he started having seizures has displayed periods of extreme hyperactivity - could this be due to the seizures?  reading what has been written above - can someone please explain what an IEP is?  we are living in the mountains in Tuscany, Italy and his school is somewhat unprepared for his condition - for example there isn't even a nurse present at the school, so its up to us to educated the teachers and I'm keen to learn how mainstream american schools deal with these situations.



 



Many thanks.

[deleted account]

my 13 year old son has seizures as well and is suffering in grade 7. he started life off doing everything really early....like walking unassisted at 10 months, talking like a 5 year old at the age of 2 etc. did fairly well in school till roughly around the time that his seizures started in grade four. Now.....getting F's and D's and really struggling. It takes months and months here to get testing done. in the meantime, is it just co incidense or is it related to seizures? we want to know and have always wondered as well.

Sharon - posted on 03/10/2009

18

7

1

Amanda, my daughter is 12 and started having seizures at 10. Over the past two years I have learned so much. Her neurologist confirms that the seizures & medication (Lamictal 250mg) have a profound effect on her memory and performance at school. It took me most of her sixth grade year to fight with the school to get her accommodations in her learning plan. I just met with her counselor last week and it has been determined that she probably needs an IEP. I have an appointment with the school psycologist tomorrow. Epilepsy is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and qualifies your child for an Independent Education Plan. You have to fight and arm yourself with as much information you can. The school won't come to you, you have to go to them.

[deleted account]

Amanda, my son had his first grandmal seizure at 2 1/2. Due to all the seizures that he has had over the years (almost 4) it has hurt his brain. It has taken most of his speech and he now suffers from SPD (which is a sensory disorder). He is in speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to try to help him regain at least some of it back. He does struggle and can't learn at the same pass but we are homeschool him and we are able to do one on one with him and it doesn't make him feel like he is stupid. Ask your neurologist about these type of therapies. Hope this helps.

Danielle - posted on 03/09/2009

25

20

1

my daughter is 9 and last year she had her first epileptic fit and ended up in intensive care, a year later she takes medication daily for her epilepsy and she is now also struggling at school, i am pushing for dyslexic and dyspraxic tests for her

i am sure her eplilepsy has effected her learning or the medication she is on but the school dont seem to help.

they moan about her development but seem to forget she nearly lost her life only a year ago and her brain is not the same any more!!!!!!!!!

Angie - posted on 02/18/2009

6

1

1

I have a daughter that is 6 also that was diagnost last year with epilepsy... and she was taken out of kindergarden last year and put back in pre school because she was just not there.... and this year in kindergarden we are still having some problems ourselves... it a matter of she is not a trouble maker but she can't stay focused... so I truely see where you are coming from .... please let me know if you do find anything out about the learning.... I would be interested to know...

Awdanis - posted on 02/16/2009

88

18

26

You can ask her teacher to make modifications to the lessons being taught.  The medicine might be too much for her during the day, and she might need a modified lesson.  The only way she can get one is by having an IEP written for her.  You can ask for one, and by law the school has to grant you at least a meeting to discuss your daughter's progress in the classroom.  I hope this helps.

Kamesha - posted on 02/15/2009

18

2

1

You made a great point when you discussed how bright and smart your daughter is. I think that you should just encourage her and show her that you are extremely proud of the efforts that she makes and that if she keeps trying she will get it. I think with that your daughter will go far. there are so many scholarships and programs for people that have epilepsy that go to college and perform well in school that has been where your daughter is. I think with encouragement and focusing on her strengths she will excell.

Deana - posted on 02/09/2009

34

9

1

My daughter (now 7) had the same type of seizures, and with a combination of Depakote and Zarontin daily it stopped them in their tracks...for 2 yrs now....I saw a HUGE regression once she started the meds.first with her handwriting, then focus/attention, hugely with the lack of deep sleep (restlessness) at night causing a LOT of the problems in school...I stuck to a routine of 7pm bedtime no matter what, and she would normally ...and now can positively say as she's coming off the meds we are seeing lots of improvements! It was so hard to go through...we went through the school programs to get her some help--first the 529 plan and now a specialized IEP- due to "other Medical" issues in which professionals can work with her in the areas she needs help just until she gets done being weaned from the meds! I hope this gives you some hope, the doctor told me "many kids with learning disabilities also have seizures" (I didn't like that comment because I saw where she was before the medicine and what happened after...)

Jenny - posted on 02/09/2009

1

10

0

My 16mth old is definately delayed, he started having seizures at 5wks old and consequently had a brain bleed then as well it could be put down to that, my older son who is 7 has a global devlopmental delay and has only just started having some small episodes in regards to epilepsy though is not diagnosed yet. i am not sure wheather they are linked and i have asked questions to neurologist and therapist alike and they just tell me there is no particular pattern some kids have epilepsy with no delay other have delays and epilepsy i think it would be very hard to find out for sure. i hope i have helped somewhat.



 

Jessica - posted on 02/09/2009

28

6

1

I found this thought it would help!



Epilepsy and Learning



An estimated 300,000 young people under the age of 14 have epilepsy in the United States, and while many do not experience any adverse effects on their scholastic performance, others may experience learning problems related to their seizures. Several major factors may contribute to these learning difficulties: seizure-related effects, medication-related effects, psychosocial factors, and developmental disorders.



Seizures and Learning



No single factor relating to a child’s seizures accurately predicts what, if any, impact her epilepsy will have on her learning abilities. Aspects of her seizure disorder that may come into play when talking about academic potential include what the cause of her epilepsy might be, at what age she began having seizures, the seizure type/s she experiences, what part of her brain is affected by her seizure activity, and how frequently the seizures happen.



Different seizure types can have different impacts on a child’s school performance. For example, a child’s memory may be adversely affected by a generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure or a complex partial seizure. Absence seizures, which are characterized by a brief loss of consciousness, may prevent a student from hearing and seeing what is happening in his class while he is having seizures. This loss of contact with his surroundings can therefore impede his learning. Children may also fall behind from missing school for doctor’s appointments, tests, or while recovering from a major seizure.



Medications and Learning



Learning can be affected by the type of medication, the number of medications, and the dosage level of medication a child may be taking. Some commonly prescribed medications have side effects which may include drowsiness, inattention or restlessness, all of which can have an adverse impact on a student’s learning potential. If a child is taking multiple medications to control her seizures, or taking medication at a very high dosage level, she may experience more learning difficulties than children taking only one drug or taking a lower dose of a medicine.



Drug side effects on a student’s learning can be difficult to detect, and are often not apparent in a standardized IQ or academic achievement test. Special tests of attention, ability to process information and memory may be able to help determine if a child’s anti-seizure medication is affecting her learning.



Psychosocial Factors and Learning



Family coping strategies, school and parent expectations, and behavioral or emotional problems can all impact the learning of a student who has epilepsy. These factors can be both a cause and a consequence of academic difficulties. The stigma that still surrounds epilepsy in some communities can lead to stress in a student’s life, resulting in poor school performance. A student’s self-esteem and confidence can also suffer due to the effects of epilepsy in her life. A continuing downward spiral of decreased school performance and diminished self-esteem can prove to be very problematic for some students living with epilepsy.



For more information about helping a student cope with the impact of epilepsy in his life, .



Developmental Disorders and Learning



Children with epilepsy may also have developmental disorders that can impact their school performance. These disorders may include learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental delay, mental retardation, and autism.



Learning Disabilities



Learning disabilities are diagnosed when a child shows normal learning in some scholastic areas and significant deficits in others. Subjects commonly affected by learning disabilities include reading, writing and mathematics, while other areas that can be affected include motor coordination skills, visual processing abilities, and social skills. Some students may have one type of learning disability, while others have multiple difficulties. Approximately 10% of all school-age children have some form of learning disability; however, not all learning problems are caused by a specific learning disability.



Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)



ADHD is a diagnosis given to children (and adults) who exhibit a series of behaviors over a period of time. These behaviors typically include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.



Examples of inattention include: being easily distracted; forgetfulness; making careless mistakes; difficulty following directions; and being disorganized.



Examples of hyperactivity and impulsivity include: fidgeting; restlessness; running in excess; excessive talking; and impatience with waiting one’s turn.



Because every child exhibits these behaviors at some time or another, ADHD is usually considered only if the behaviors began at an early age; if the behaviors last more than six months; if the behaviors occur in many different settings; and if the behaviors are more frequent and severe than is typical in children of the same age. The behaviors must also be an obstacle to success in the child’s life, both at school and in social and family settings.



The diagnosis of ADHD in children with epilepsy can be complicated and controversial. Some types of seizures (like absence) are typified by brief lapses in consciousness, while one of the hallmarks of ADHD is repeated inattention. Different seizure medications may also produce side effects that are similar to typical ADHD symptoms. Some ADHD medications may lower a child’s seizure threshold (the point at which a person is likely to experience a seizure). If parents and school officials suspect the student with epilepsy may also have ADHD, careful monitoring and documentation of the child’s behavior, examining the results of testing to determine the child’s ability to pay attention, and reviewing a thorough medical history, including the types of the medication the child is taking, should all be completed by the child’s physician.



Developmental Delay or Mental Retardation



Children whose academic, physical and social skills are not as developed as other children their age are said to have developmental delay. This term often includes children who are slow learners (those children whose IQ scores fall in the 70 to 85 range) and those who have some degree of mental retardation.



Mental retardation is diagnosed if a child’s IQ test scores fall below 70. Having mental retardation is different from having a learning disability. Most, if not all, of a child’s learning abilities are affected if he has mental retardation, whereas a child with a learning disability usually experiences difficulties in very specific scholastic or social skills areas.



Autism



Autism, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), is the term used when a child has significant, ongoing difficulties communicating with others and lacks imaginative playing skills. Children with autism often exhibit persistent, repetitive interests and behaviors. Approximately 25% of children with autism will experience at least one seizure by the time they reach adulthood.



 



Developing a Management Plan



The sooner a child’s learning disabilities are identified, the sooner school personnel and parents can develop effective strategies that will help the child succeed academically. Open, honest communication between the family and the school about the challenges the student is facing is critical in this development process. Tutoring and counseling may be effective in helping the student succeed with her schoolwork, in addition to modifications and accommodations made by her teachers within the classroom setting.



Comprehensive Evaluations



If the initial management plan does not result in a significant improvement in the child’s scholastic achievement, a comprehensive evaluation may be requested. This evaluation will include thorough psychological and educational testing of the student to determine the areas in which he could benefit from various programs and services, and what those programs and services might entail. Students whose academic achievement is substantially lower than their peers are eligible for special education services, and the team who will develop the student’s special education plan will rely on the results of the evaluations in order to put together the most effective plan for that individual.



Comprehensive evaluations are often conducted by a team of experts, which may include psychologists, speech and language therapists, physical therapists, and social workers. All of these individuals bring their own personal areas of expertise to the evaluation process, and when all of the results of the various tests are compiled, the team will have an accurate and thorough picture of what the child’s strengths and needs are.



 



Special Education Issues



Children with disabilities are entitled to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Federal and state laws are in place to ensure that students with disabilities receive the types of supports they need to achieve their full academic potential. for further information on special education laws, organizations that assist families who are going through the special education process with their children’s schools, and how the Epilepsy Foundation can help with this issue.





I hope this helps you!

Amanda - posted on 02/09/2009

8

10

0

She in on 100mg Lamictol twice a day. It doesn't control the seizures completely but nothing else works at all. We even tried the diet and she did worse on that.

Jessica - posted on 02/07/2009

28

6

1

Is your daughter on any kind of medication for the seizures?  If so this could be a huge factor in the problem she is having!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms