November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month                            Author: Krista Flack, MS OTR/L


Epilepsy, or a seizure disorder, is a neurological condition which affects the nervous system.  It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition. 


Did you know???

  • 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
  • 3 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
  • ONE-THIRD: Number of people with epilepsy who live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them.
  • 6 OUT OF 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.


What should I do when someone has a seizure?

The most important thing is to keep the person safe and comfortable. For most seizures, giving basic seizure first aid is all you need to do:

  • Always stay with the person until the seizure is over.
  • Pay attention to how long the seizure lasts.
  • Stay calm. Most seizures only last a few minutes.
  • Prevent injury by moving nearby objects out of the way.
  • Don’t hold the person down.
  • Don’t put anything in the person's mouth.
  • Make sure their breathing is okay.
  • Know when to call for emergency medical help.
  • Be sensitive and supportive, and ask others to do the same.


Many children with epilepsy can benefit from physical, occupational, and speech therapy.  Occupational therapists commonly evaluate and treat people with epilepsy and other neurological problems.  They can help find out why people have problems with tasks of daily living and teach them ways of adapting or compensating for the problems.  They can also offer strategies to persons with epilepsy who also have additional disorders that affect their ability to perform fine-motor tasks, such as writing, buttoning clothes, or picking up small objects.  Physical therapists can help people who have problems with moving and walking around.  This may include helping people regain function or strength after a broken bone or a long period of not moving around.  PTs can help people improve their balance, coordination and learn safer ways of walking.  Ways to compensate for other neurological problems may include how to use adaptive equipment or make your home, school or work environment safer.  Speech therapists specialize in evaluating and treating people with speech and language problems.  People with epilepsy may have language problems that arise from an underlying neurological problems, or seizures affecting language areas of the brain.  Other cognitive problems can affect language abilities too.  Rehabilitation strategies will depend upon the type and cause of the problems as well as the age of the patient.  Speech therapists often work with children to address how language and other cognitive problems affect academic function and daily living.  


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