Tag Archives: Epilepsy

Teaching pupils with Epilepsy

  • Do not leave pupils with epilepsy out of any activity unless they have been medically restricted – even non-educational activities are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act.
  • Although a very small minority of pupils with epilepsy are photosensitive and might be affected by computer screens, this is not a reason to exclude all pupils with epilepsy from computer use.
  • Some children with epilepsy can be more susceptible to fits if they encounter flashing/flickering lights – for this reason make sure they do not sit too close to the television.
  • If a child with epilepsy is swimming he/she should be kept under close supervision from the side and a qualified First Aider should be present.
  • Pupils with epilepsy may be more likely to have difficulties with mathematics and reading and extra help may be required.
  • A buddy system is a great help especially with older children. All staff should know what to do. Most older pupils usually know seizure is about to happen, so they should immediately be excused from class and with 2 buddies gets to First Aider or First Aid room with bed. Buddies make pupil safe and one will inform First Aider, who will come and be present, ring Mum if medication is necessary because pupil will not come out of seizure, and ambulance if seizure continues. Buddies are great because they remind the teacher what to do if teacher has never encountered it before. In the event of seizure coming unexpectedly, staff should offer pupil privacy of cupboard, store room or side of classroom and move other pupils away.


  • Two main types; tonic/clonic (grand mal) and absences (petit mal).
  • Can be genetic or can be the result of other trauma
A person with this condition has fits (seizures) caused by a disruption in the electrical charge in the cells of the brain.  The fits can be severe and include jerking of the limbs, spasticity of the limbs, foaming at the mouth, falling and unconsciousness, but many people with epilepsy have fits of the absence kind where they do not lose consciousness but just seem to ‘be in a dream’ for a short time.

Things to look out for:  A person having a petit mal fit (absence) may look as if they are simply staring into space.  They may have missed part of the lesson without anyone noticing.  Sufferers often sense they are going to have a fit in that they may experience a strange smell or sound. (an aura)

Treatment:  Medication.

Most epilepsy is controlled by medication but there is always a possibility that a fit can occur. *see below

Teaching Strategies

Medical Information

People who can help: SENCO/Resource Teacher


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Further Information


Emergency action in the event of an epileptic fit

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You should be aware if any pupil in your class suffers from epilepsy.  You should also know the name of the key person who will help.  However, fits can occur without much warning and occasionally a pupil who has never had a fit before could have one.

Although it is alarming and worrying if someone is having a seizure to see him/her lashing out with arms and legs  he/she should NOT be restrained although any dangerous obstacles should be removed from around and if possible, something soft should be placed beneath the head.   Keep other pupils away and try to deal with the situation as calmly as possible.   Ask another pupil to inform the key worker.

Once the fit has stopped place him/her in the recovery position and give reassurance until full consciousness is regained.    A pupil may feel tired after the fit and in this event the key worker may decide to send the pupil home or to a medical room.

Normally there is no need to take any further action but if the fit continues beyond five minutes or if the pupil goes into another fit after coming out of the first one, then medical help is needed.