June 20 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Lynda Smith’s daughter has the condition
A mother is calling on schools to do more to support children with epilepsy.
Lynda Smith, 47, from Tonbridge, is backing a campaign launched by charity Epilepsy Action to raise awareness of the condition.
Mrs Smith’s daughter, 16-year-old Vicky, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was just eight-years-old after suffering from a series of fits.
Vicky attends Sackville School in Hildenborough, where she receives one-on-one support from her teachers.
Mrs Smith said: “Sackville is absolutely fantastic. The staff have given her special help and support with exam papers. In 2010, when Vicky started a new modern medication, she started to have absence seizures and miss school. She didn’t get behind because the teachers would help her catch up and would email her the work she missed.”
But despite Mrs Smith’s positive experience she still thinks more needs to be done to help children.
She said: “As a parent to a child with epilepsy it would be nice to make people aware of it. Some people have it really seriously and cannot control it. I would like to see a general awareness, where people with epilepsy are not segregated and are helped by their school.
“We know first hand how important it is that young people with epilepsy are supported at school, so they can achieve their full potential. I’m supporting this campaign to help make sure more young people are able to achieve great things at school regardless of their epilepsy.”
Vicky suffered a seizure last week due to the stress of her GCSE’s – the first in a few years. She takes medication twice a day to control her condition.
Mrs Smith explained during an absence seizure Vicky stares into space and can’t move.
During a more serious epileptic fit Vicky can hear distorted voices and kicks her legs “as if riding a bicycle”.
Vicky lives with her parents Lynda and Paul and brother, James, 11. The family try to reassure Vicky after a seizure.
The Epilepsy Action campaign is part of this week’s National Epilepsy Week.
In a national survey of parents and teachers the charity found children with epilepsy are not being fully supported in schools.
Of those schools who said they had at least one pupil with epilepsy, less than 40 per cent have a written epilepsy policy and almost a third were not aware that pupils may be entitled to receive extra time in exams.
It also found some pupils were not reaching their full potential.
Leanne Creighton, education policy and campaigns officer at Epilepsy Action, said: “It is vital that children and young people with epilepsy receive support at school to enable them to reach their full potential. It’s worrying that schools are not doing everything they can for pupils with epilepsy.
“There is no reason why all children with epilepsy should not be able to achieve their full potential, with the right support. There are simple steps and procedures schools can put in place to help children with epilepsy. We hope teachers will take note of these findings and take steps to make sure that children with epilepsy in their schools are being fully supported.”
Epilepsy affects an estimated 63,400 children and young people aged under 18 in the UK. On average, there will be one child with epilepsy in every primary school and five in every secondary school.
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