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 Cdc-pdf[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 NursesExternal teaches school nurses how to care for students with seizures and train other school staff. It provides continuing education credits and is available online or in person.
- Seizure Training for School PersonnelExternal teaches school staff (teachers, office staff, bus drivers, and others) to recognize seizures, provide first aid, and understand how epilepsy may affect a student. It provides continuing education credits and is available online or in person.
- Seizure Training for Childcare Personnel Externalteaches childcare providers how to recognize seizures and provide seizure first aid for young children.
CDC supports the Epilepsy Foundation to deliver epilepsy education programs that teach students about epilepsy and first aid.
- Take Charge of the StormExternal is for middle school-aged students.
- Take Charge of the FactsExternal is for high school-aged students.
CDC’s Body and Mind (BAM) website teaches children aged 9-12 years about health topics, including epilepsy. Children can learn what a seizure looks like, review facts about epilepsy, learn about epilepsy stigma, and read about 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.
Visit the Virtual Health School website to learn more.
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.
- Ideas for Parents Cdc-pdf[PDF-2.6M] suggests ways parents can support schools in managing students with epilepsy.
- 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 Families and Friends
- Information for Communities