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Children and Epilepsy

            The most common neurological disorder among children is epilepsy. Epilepsy is a heterogeneous disorder caused by an electrical discharge in the brain. Excess electrical discharge can trigger a seizure, which can lead to uncontrollable contractions of muscles and eventually unconsciousness. In the article, "Epilepsy in School-Aged Children: More than Just Seizures?", Colin Reilly and Rebecca Ballantine discuss the correlation between children with epilepsy and learning in the classroom. The authors' purpose of the article is to provide readers, such as parents or educators, with a deeper understanding of epilepsy and the effects it has on children. .
             To summarize Reilly and Ballantine's article, epilepsy has a significant impact on a child's performance at school. There are over forty different types of epilepsy, and since it's a heterogeneous disorder, each case is different and each child must be assessed individually. There are three factors which lead a child to become epileptic; brain injury/disease, genetics, and causes unknown. .
             Brain injury/disease can include a fall, infection of the brain, or brain tumors. No history of epilepsy in the family has to be present for a child to genetically have epilepsy. There are two classifications of epilepsy. One is generalized and the other is focal. Generalized is where the whole brain is affected and the child is unconscious of their surroundings. Where focal is "localized "meaning that only one part or side of the brain is affected." .
             A child is diagnosed based on the type and pattern of seizure and the age of their first seizure. An EEG, a brain wave test, is also performed to determine diagnosis and treatment. Most children with epilepsy are prescribed anti-epileptic drugs (AED's) to manage seizures. Although for some children medication does not control the seizures and then epilepsy surgery is taken into consideration. Children who take AED's are likely to struggle with memory/attention difficulties, dizziness, and changes in mood and behavior.

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