Epilepsy in Schools
Provide Your School with the Right Tools to Manage Epilepsy
Nationwide, about 470,000 children have epilepsy. For many children, epilepsy is easily controlled with medicine. These children can do what other kids can do, and perform as well in school. For others, it can be more challenging. Learn what you can do to help your school better support children with epilepsy.
CDC works with state and local education and health agencies to assess school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts, and US territories through the School Health Profile surveys. CDC published the results of the 2014 School Health Profile survey in the School Health Policies and Practices Brief: Epilepsy and Seizure Disorder.
The map below shows some of the results from the 2014 School Health Profile survey.
Teachers Want Training for Epilepsy
Data on epilepsy from the 2014 School Health Profile survey indicate that, across the states:
- The percentage of secondary schools that had a lead health education teacher who wanted professional development on epilepsy or seizure disorder ranged from 32.9% to 71.7% (median: 49.0%). See the map for more information.
- The percentage of secondary schools that had a lead health education teacher who received professional development on epilepsy or seizure disorder in the past 2 years ranged from 9.1% to 38.3% (median: 18.2%).
Read the School Health Policies and Practices Brief pdf icon[PDF – 1.72 MB] to find data and learn more about how epilepsy is addressed in schools in your community.
CDC partners with the Epilepsy Foundation to deliver free training programs to school professionals.
- Managing Students with seizures for School Nurses:
Seizure Training for School Nurses: Caring for Students (On Demand) – 2021 (epilepsy.com)external icon
- Seizure Training for School Personnel:
Seizure Training for School Personnel (On Demand) – 2021 (epilepsy.com)external icon
- The Epilepsy Foundation also offers a free, online Seizure Recognition and First Aid Certificationexternal icon program that anyone can take to learn how to recognize a seizure, provide first aid, and when to call for help. This program is helpful for families, friends, caregivers, and others your child may interact with before and after the school day.
Training for school personnel is also available free, on demand through Epilepsy Alliance America: On-Demand Seizure First Aid Training for School Personnelexternal icon.
- Teachers can find resources on CDC’s Body and Mind (BAM) website. There, they can learn more about epilepsy, what a seizure looks like, stigma and bullying, and how to provide seizure first aid.
CDC’s Virtual Healthy School is a new, interactive learning tool that provides examples of what a healthy school environment looks like and demonstrates effective epilepsy management in school. It uses modern learning technology and lists practical action steps to engage families and communities.
In the virtual school, the nurse:
- Keeps a record of all students with chronic health conditions, including epilepsy, so she or he can act immediately if a seizure occurs at school.
- Asks the parents of students with epilepsy to host a discussion about what they do in their homes to treat and manage their child’s condition.
- Invites a neurologist to visit the school to explain what triggers seizures and what medicines are used for treatments and their possible side effects.
- Provides guidance to every student with seizures about self-management and making good lifestyle choices, such as getting enough sleep and lowering stress.
- Encourages students with epilepsy to be physically active at school.
The CDC Healthy Schools Program provides health tools and resources, including evidence-based guidelines and a tool that helps schools conduct self-assessments and plan health and safety policies and programs. For example, the School Health Index is an online self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs.
- You Are Not Alone Parent Toolkit is a support program for parents of teens who have epilepsy.
- The Find Support webpage offers free resources to help you or someone you love manage epilepsy day to day.
- Information for Parents
- Information for Communities