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Epilepsy Smart Schools

Epilepsy Smart Schools

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The Epilepsy Smart Schools program has been developed to support students, teachers and schools.

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What is the Epilepsy Smart Schools program?

The Epilepsy Smart Schools program has been created to help schools provide a safe, inclusive education experience for all students with epilepsy.

Every school in Australia has a duty of care to provide a safe learning environment for all its students and to ensure they accommodate the individual needs of all students.

Our Epilepsy Smart Schools program includes specialised training and education, and referral for guidance with developing Epilepsy Management Plans and Emergency Medication Management Plans, to ensure schools meet their obligations to each student with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is more than just seizures and first aid training is not enough.

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Why should your school become an Epilepsy Smart School?

Becoming an Epilepsy Smart School means teachers, school nurses, and anyone within the school who has a duty of care, understands epilepsy and feels confident that they know what to do in the event a student has a seizure while at school or engaging in school activities such as camps or swimming.

It also demonstrates to parents, carers, students and your wider school community that your school has taken the necessary steps to understand epilepsy and recognise the signs of a seizure, and knows how to help a student having a seizure. This includes having the confidence and competence to administer emergency medication, if required.

Are you ready to respond to a student who has a seizure on your watch?

Teachers and anyone with a duty of care towards students in a school setting need to understand the impact of epilepsy on student learning, as well as having epilepsy-specific training in understanding and managing epilepsy and its impacts.
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What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a medical condition that affects the brain and causes seizures.

Everyone’s brain sends electrical messages to their body, which tell the body what to do. Seizures happen because of a disruption to electrical activity in the brain, leading to a change in a person’s movement, behaviour, level of awareness and/or feelings.

There are more than 60 different types of epilepsy and everyone’s experience with seizures is different.

1 in 200 students has epilepsy. This means every teacher is likely to teach a child with epilepsy at some stage during their career. Chances are, you have a student with epilepsy and may not know it.

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How does epilepsy affect a student’s learning?

Epilepsy can have a profound effect on a student’s wellbeing at school and their educational outcomes.

It affects their ability to focus, take in information and recall facts. Seizures can be extremely disruptive to a student’s daily life, causing tiredness with an overwhelming need to sleep, lack of ability to concentrate and impaired cognitive function.

Adding to the physical effects on the child are the psychological impacts arising from the stigma associated with epilepsy that sometimes still exists today. A child may be told they can’t go on a school camp because of their epilepsy, or that they can’t participate in swimming events. There are often unnecessary restrictions placed on a child, most likely in a bid to reduce risk or liability to the school, or fear.

However, with proper teacher education and training, and a few simple adjustments, the student is usually able to participate fully in all that school life has to offer, creating a much happier, more inclusive experience for the child.

Is your school ready to start the journey to become an Epilepsy Smart School?

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Epilepsy Smart Australia, including the Epilepsy Smart Schools program, is a collaborative partnership between epilepsy service providers across Australia:
Epilepsy Foundation Epilepsy Tasmania and Epilepsy ACT logos
Epilepsy Queensland Epilepsy WA and The Epilepsy Centre logos
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Epilepsy Smart Australia

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The Epilepsy Smart Australia program received funding from the Australian Government.