Building Inclusive Communities
Communities can promote the health, well-being, and social participation of people with epilepsy. Supportive communities (which may be towns, cities, counties, tribal areas, or similar) have many components, such as schools and day care facilities, housing units, health care facilities, business and industry settings; and community-based programs, coalitions, and organizations. Community leaders can strive to develop and promote lasting strategies that support people with epilepsy where they live, learn, work, play, worship, and age.
Learn how communities can assess how well their programs include people with chronic disease or disabilities, and how they can promote healthy living in places like schools and employment settings.
Some people with epilepsy identify themselves as having a disability. To be healthy, all individuals, including those with disabilities, must have opportunities to take part in meaningful daily activities. These opportunities may be determined by how inclusive a community is in helping people with epilepsy. For people with disabilities (PWD), this can include having access to affordable housing, transportation, employment opportunities, and social support.
The Community Health Inclusion Index (CHII) is an evaluation tool that can help community decision makers, public health professionals, and disability organizations to
- Better understand the challenges PWD face to participate in physical activities and buy healthy foods.
- Learn how current programs that promote healthy living affect the health of PWD.
- Add to other tools that measure physical activity and healthy eating at the community level to assess gaps and needs.
- Develop and apply strategies to improve access to physical activity and nutritional programs, which may in turn bring about healthier lifestyles for adults and children with disabilities.
Learn more about the Community Health Inclusion Index.
For many children, epilepsy is easily controlled with medication. These children can do what other kids can do, and perform as well in school. For others, it can be more challenging. Schools and school groups (such as parent teacher organizations or school wellness committees) can support students with chronic conditions to be healthy and ready to learn. Learn more about Epilepsy in Schools.
Sometimes people with epilepsy need accommodation in the workplace. For example, flickering lights can be a seizure trigger. In this case, employers could provide natural light or a glare guard for computer screens.
Employers can use these resources to learn how to provide a supportive work environment for employees with epilepsy.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides information on writing a seizure action plan and examples of accommodations that address stress, memory problems, and other concerns.
- The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Questions & Answers about Epilepsy in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) page provides information on relevant laws for job applicants, employees, and employers.
Training for Professionals
An important way to improve safety and quality of life for people with epilepsy is to make sure that professionals such as school nurses and other school staff, law enforcement, first responders, and childcare workers understand epilepsy and how to offer first aid. Learn more about Training for Professionals.
Mental Health Care Training for Community Members
Many people with epilepsy also have depression or anxiety disorders. Community members who support people with epilepsy and their families can benefit from Mental Health First Aid Training. This evidence-based program can help people recognize mental health crises and learn how to connect a person to mental health care. Search for a Mental Health First Aid Training near you.