**** ATTN TEACHERS w/ SEIZURES *** help!

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Hey guys,

Thanks for stopping in. I need your help. I am a teachers aide in a 7th special ed classroom. I had a seizure at work yesterday shortly before the end of school. I stayed home today, but have spoken with administrators, the nurse, and my classroom teacher. A few of the kids stayed home today because they were upset about what happened, which is completely understandable, I cant imagine how scary it is to see in real life.

Anywhoo, I am curious as to how you have spoken with your kids about your disorder? Have any of you ever had a seizure while at work? How did you handle the discussion after wards? Especially with little kids, or kids with emotional issues.

Are there any good books I could buy to add to my class library that can help kids understand what a seizure is?

I plan on being completely open and honest with my kids when we get back to school Tuesday. They have already had talks with the nurse, and the classroom teacher, but I know it will benefit some of them to talk to me personally. I am going to make sure each of them have my email at school, so they can email me any questions they might be too uncomfortable to ask in person, or in front of their classmates.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Amanda
 

Rhea

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ugh- that sounds familiar. Fortunately, all my classes were special needs or pre-school. Some knew already what a seizure was. I had to give it up mostly because of my confused and tired mind. Nothing like falling asleep, arms crossed over a white board, and waking up with 12 little ones poking you with magic pens to get teacher to "wake up and finish my math work". (and principal was on her way down) This was pre-dx, but it still would not work for me. I was afraid I would wander off and get lost, not them.
 

RobinN

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My daughter tends to have her seizures around the same time while at school. A time frame from about 9:30-1:00

It is hard for everyone to watch, but it happens. The quicker that they understand what to do, and how to make you safe, the better they will feel. It is hard to feel helpless. Give information to the school as to how to take care of you during a seizure. I know the students that help my daughter always feel better about themselves. Others that don't know her, always ask how she is.

Calm honesty is the best approach, in my opinion.
 

Meetz1064

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Wellll, I

am a substitute teacher, and my seizures are nocturnal. HOWEVER, I've run into some situations at school, that none of the other teachers were able to handle, because none of them knew anything about seizures. Only the nurse and I were capable of doing it. And the nurse knows about my E.......she has my list of meds. So, each time, I was taken out of class, and helped.

One child in particular had had a t/c in front of a bunch of special needs kids the first or second week of school. ALL of these kids knew me well, and I happened to be in the office across the hall. The nurse is shared between 2 schools (they're right next to each other), so I went to start dealing with it when one of the kids came running, and the secretary made the appropriate phone calls, and then came over with the needed meds.

Once I had made sure everything was situated, and the child was in the recovery position, the nurse had arrived, and administered the meds. The EMTs arrived, as per the protocol listed, and I proceeded to tell all the kids to sit down in the corner on the floor by the teacher's desk, and I would talk to them myself in just a couple of minutes. I had to sign a few things--name, number, etc--and then the nurse and I escorted the EMTs out while the paraprofessionals and the sub for that classes' teacher attempted to keep the kids calm.

Then, I got down on the floor, and started talking to them, face to face. Quietly, calmly. And I was peppered with questions. "Is S going to be OK?" "What caused that?" "Is there something bad inside?" All sorts of stuff.

I explained that no, there was nothing bad inside their head, that basically a thunderstorm had happened inside their head (easy to use, it was storming right then). "Is S the only person that has this? Are there a lot of people like S?" I told them that yes, S would be OK, and guess what there were lots of people who had it. As a matter of fact, there was someone else in the room who did. I asked if they could tell by looking around who it was, because a lot of them were very judgmental at that point in time.

Eyes were wide, they were all staring, looking at everyone. "No. We don't know. Everyone here doesn't look like they have that problem." Then I raised my hand and said "Guess what? It's me." I explained that mine happen in my sleep, and that I hadn't had one in years.

Then I told them all that everything I had done with S (and they had all seen everything) was exactly what they should do if they ever saw that kind of seizure happen again. And that most importantly, that they needed to stay CALM. Screaming or getting upset would make things worse. They all listened, and absorbed everything I said.

At the end of class, I had several of them come up to me to ask more specific questions. I stayed, and answered them. The paras knew that they could not have done it the way I did it........and that sub was semi-hysterical anyway, and useless. *eyeroll*


There have been a number of other occasions........some in a more severely challenged special needs room, some not. There have been times when other kids have said something to me about daydreaming, and when I checked through the records the teacher left, guess what? They were having a seizure. So, I had to notify the nurse that the meds weren't working, and she got the ball rolling each time.


It's a matter of knowing how to handle your kids specifically. Stay calm, be patient, and don't be sarcastic about it.

Now that I've rambled, if you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

PS. Skillefer is a special ed teacher, and Kansas Educator an administrator/teacher........they should be able to give some input also.
 
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McGill

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I was a supply teacher who has to cope with a seizure disorder. When I had a seizure in class, usually as a result of the excess stress which is one of my "triggers", I went back to the class where I had the students the next day and explained to the teacher what occurred. I then asked the students to tell me what they knew about people who have seizures and if they knew "First Aid for Seizures". Some of the students had an idea about what to do, but many were very quiet as they listened to what I had to say to them and how their behavior could have an effect on someone. I told them that if they were deliberately being obnoxious or misbehaving simply b/c I was a substitute teacher, they were being abusive. (The age range of the students were between 12 - 14 yrs. old, so they knew enough to distinguish between what is abuse & what isn't. This was in an inner city school where there was a lot of various types of abuse experienced by the students.)

That I knew from first-hand experience what not to do, I was able to dispel some myths about seizures and give them some information about what to do, since teens at that age genuinely want to help when they can. I had a few students attempt to cause trouble for me again, but I warned them that if they waanted to try and cause trouble for me, I'd inform the principal and have their privileges revoked. The entire class would lose the privileges I would grant them for the sake of a few disruptive students. Oncwe they found out I meant business, I had them on my side, as well as some "inside information" from other teachers & teachers' aides. After that, I had little or no trouble, but I eventually had to stop teaching b/c my seizures worsened. However, the manner in which I explained what to do if such an event occurred gained much praise from the principal and vice-principal.

I hope that this gives you a bit of insight as well as being aware of your limits and environment. Just a few words of encouragement for you. :D
 

Rhea

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Meetz, that was a wonderful way to present that. If I may use it when (if) I am able to return to work? I liked the question about if they could tell if anyone else had seizures. As many pre=school and special needs classes as there are, there should be more explanation about some of the "special needs", maybe that can be remedied through us??? I am willing to ask my principal's if I may do this. (I work throughout the whole county.) What say we work on that??
 

Meetz1064

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Go for

it Rhea. I think it's wonderful. And yes, you can use whatever you need from what I talked about.

If the kids ask what do you mean by a thunderstorm in the head, (a couple did this later on) I simply told them that in our head there are a bunch of things--the neurons--going off all the time that do put out eensy weensy bits of electricity. Usually it's not a big deal.........BUT if all those things decide to do it all at once (or a bunch of them together) then you can end up with a seizure. They were totally intrigued by the idea.

Good luck!
 

lisafaz

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I'm on leave from my high school special ed teaching job... not entirely voluntarily. But I've had a couple of seizures during class and scared the hell out of my kids, so I've decided to stay home until the neuro can figure out meds. Thursday one of my kids had a seizure in class, so I evacuated the room and helped him by settling him on the floor and protecting his head & calling for help. I saw for the first time exactly how scared my students were. That's why I decided to go on medical leave. As an added *bonus*, I'm bipolar and have migraines. I've explained all of these conditions to my students, many who are placed with me for just such problems. They feel better knowing that someone else has their problems too. I hate the helplessness I feel because of the seizures. I could accept the bipolar & migraines, but the seizures I'm having trouble with. I wonder if that's because they're readily apparent to people... Anyway, the Dr thinks they're TL, but can't give me a firm dx, which also bothers me. I've been on Trileptal (high doses) for years, then this September began having seizures. In class. I can't talk intelligibly, then I fall asleep. The first time, I remember thinking, "my students with speech issues must think I'm making fun of them!", then, "Oh my God! What if I talk like this forever!?", then "That behavior kid gave me a freakin' stroke!", followed by, "I must be a really boring teacher if I can fall asleep in my own class WHILE TEACHING.". I tried to hide it for about a month and a half. I'd sleep during lunch, then my kids would wake me up when it was time for class to start again. I've been really calm talking to them about it, because I don't want them scared. I told them Friday, that I'd be out for a long time (didn't tell them probably forever, as I've been asked to resign) trying to give the Dr time to treat my problems. I was proud of the fact I didn't cry in front of them. Bottom line, I don't know if there's a good way to handle this in the classroom. Other than get out.
 

Rhea

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First off- DO NOT RESIGN!!!!! Medical leave, O.K.- resign- NO!
That said, I know exactly how you feel. It sounds a lot like I was before I was dx'd. Even trying to type this is taking forever because I have to switch letters back that I misplace. I was also dx bi-polar before the seizures incorrectly. I could go through my house and clean like a whirlwind, then be on the chair for a week. Actually, it was on my good days that I felt well and able that I could do anythiong. Then, it would hit me. Down I would be. Cymbalta and risperdal for bi-polar. Messed me up. I went to sleep in class teaching too. Couldn't make it through the day. My suggestion is if you could convince a dr. to do a sleep study. It could tell a lot. IF- you are having LTL seizures, your sleep is probably all messed up. Keep at the doctors, make THEM work for YOU. If you are not comfortable with a diagnosis, and you knopw it's wrong- tell them to checkl again or get another professional opinion. Keep gathering information, this place has been a Godsend for me, and the info is accurate. The support is invaluable. I don't know where I would be if I didn't have somewhere to go that understands when I don't make sense. Good luck and stick around, please.
Rhea
 
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rogden

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This is something that I am terrified will happen. I am a riding instructor and horse trainer and with my most recent episode happening with no rhyme or reason that I know of I am being told I cannot ride until I get cleared and I am worried about having a seizure while standing in the middle of the ring with a group of kids on 1,000lbs animals scared to death that I am dying. I can only imagine I am not sure how to handle this or if I need to leave my dream and do something safer for everyone.
 

McGill

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Rodgen, horses are "common sense" animals, yet they have an imminent sense when something untoward or unpleasant is about to occur.

For your own safety, I would consider a dream which doesn't put you in a position of such risk of being crushed to death by an animal which will panic if someone on it has a seizure. It's much more easily said than done, I know. But there is such a thing as a "healthy selfishness" which others can expect of you and of themselves which could preclude you from horse riding. It would be classed as "being for the general welfare of everyone."

I don't want to be negative in this approach; rather I'm trying to be pragmatic & realistic in my approach to this issue.
 

rogden

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I know that most horses are very intuitive to human emotion and I understand the risk. I have been working toward this carrer my whole life and now I feel as if I have to throw it all out the window. Your right about being realistic about it and I have a lot of thinking to do on the subject. I am just looking for other points of view from people who are just as confused and turned upside down from this.
 

skillefer

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Did I hear my name??

Hi! I'm skilly. :) I'm a special ed. teacher currently working in a middle school special ed. class. :) I have tonic clonics, and yes I've had them at work. My way of dealing with it, (after all, it is a possibility of having one in class) is to start every semester with "the talk". I've taught 13 years now...maybe 14. I forget. ANyway...I start by letting them know what I have, what it's called, what it looks like, and letting them know that it's okay to be scared. ( I got scared when I had to help someone who was having one too...) I let them know HOW to help me...and I tell them what NOT to do. My administrators, aides,school nurses, and colleagues have been fabulous. My nurse knows to call my hubby before she calls 911 (if 911 is necessary), that way he can refuse service for me. :) In return, I keep her updated as to what meds I take, when, how much, who to call, current phone numbers, etc. THe thing I've noticed is, people will base their reactions on how I tell them...so if I sound like it's scary, they tend to act scared. If I act like it's just like a bad case of gas (something to be dealt with but otherwise normal) they tend to react calmly. (Kids as well as adults.) I find that kids and adults take it much harder and get more scared if they don't know what to expect, or if they don't know that a seizure is possible.
 
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Hey, my ears are burning too! I coordinate a public school preschool program and have only 3 more years after this year until retirement -- guess that tells you how old I am! Fortunately, my seizures are simple and complex partial seizures and very infrequent (and at the moment, completely controlled by medication and lifestyle changes) and I've never had one at work. I've never had a tonic-clonic. However, my co-workers know what to do in case one should occur. I don't work directly with children so that's not an issue.
I agree with the others. Kids tend to base their response on the responses of the adults around them. If you can explain the situation calmly and clearly, you'll be surprised what they'll understand. Blessings!
 

QueenieKP

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What age is 7th grade?

My experience isn't with littlies I work with teens, but actually I think kids of all ages are amazingly resilient. They may have been a little scared, but it's an amazing opportunity (in hindsight) for preparing them for potentialily life saving skills, by teaching the epilepsy awareness and seizure first aid.

As you work with children with additional educational needs, chances are that they will see peers with seizure disorders and what a fantastic role model that people with epilepsy can hold down jobs and be TA's!

They will be curious and have questions, which you'll hopefully be able to answer as honestly and openly as you can at an age appropriate level. Perhaps the school nurse will help or you can check out your local epilepsy society's book list.

Good luck x

Q
 

sjconner

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I teach at a state/federally funded residential school for "at-risk" 16-19 year olds. They are the ones who have dropped out of school, kicked out of school, have drug/alcohol issues, been abused, have legal issues, etc. I have TLE. Mostly I have simple and complex seizures and 1 TC. So far none have been at work and still working on seizure control. The kids all know I have epilepsy and what to do if "Mrs. Conner does the drop and flop ... like a fish". By not being too serious about it, I have found that the kids are helpful and considerate. Not usually normal for the set I teach. I try not to make it a huge issue. My job with the state requires that I have a driver's license and be able to drive. In the US, under the ADA laws, the school must provide reasonable accommodations. Those laws are what keeps me employed even though I cannot drive.
 

QueenieKP

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Medical leave and whatever your equivalent is to occupational health.

For me I am a youth worker. I was paid to work 37.5 hours a week. A 'good' week I worked 42 hours an 'exceptional' week I works 60 +. I loved it. Alas when my E returned this wasn't sustainable. I took a little time off. I went part time, working 3, 6 hour days now my med-a-go-round has me a one woman zombie apocalypse I work 5, 3 hour days. Not entirely sure where you are or your disability discrimination legislation but check your rights because reasonable adjustments should be made.

Q
 

holly

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Hey guys,

Thanks for stopping in. I need your help. I am a teachers aide in a 7th special ed classroom. I had a seizure at work yesterday shortly before the end of school. I stayed home today, but have spoken with administrators, the nurse, and my classroom teacher. A few of the kids stayed home today because they were upset about what happened, which is completely understandable, I cant imagine how scary it is to see in real life.

Anywhoo, I am curious as to how you have spoken with your kids about your disorder? Have any of you ever had a seizure while at work? How did you handle the discussion after wards? Especially with little kids, or kids with emotional issues.

Are there any good books I could buy to add to my class library that can help kids understand what a seizure is?

I plan on being completely open and honest with my kids when we get back to school Tuesday. They have already had talks with the nurse, and the classroom teacher, but I know it will benefit some of them to talk to me personally. I am going to make sure each of them have my email at school, so they can email me any questions they might be too uncomfortable to ask in person, or in front of their classmates.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Amanda
Amanda hi!

im new here, and not diagnosed with epilepsy so maybe not the best person to be replying to you, however I am a mother and I fear that if what I believe im having "auras" should turn into a "TC" how will it effect my children, I hope I never get a "TC" but at the moment im telling my children that im very tired, and that if i fall down im sleeping because im very tired looking after the baby, the little ones i have are 1, 4 and 6, so the youngest is oblivious (i think) the older two are not old enough to understand much more than they are told (i hope) if i am diagnosed with epilepsy i will fully inform them of everything they need to know and mostly that i will be ok, even though it may look frightening.
maybe you should discuss the possibility with your co workers & employer that periodically there should be a teachers have special needs too day or something, and have a day to educate on special needs in your school such as seizures and emergency awareness this would help the kids and teachers to know how they can help in these situations..... just a thought, especially as they know you were that day "unwell" keep us posted and good luck
 

Cymry

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I had my first seizure -- tonic/clonic, I think, from the description I got from the witnesses -- a couple of weeks ago, on July 7. I had an MRI and EEG today and I go to follow up with the neuro on Monday (July 29). I teach Pre-K in the same city where my neuro is. In fact, all the Pre-K's will be at a school together across the road from my neuro's office. I do have a great assistant who will do all she can when/if I need her. She knows about the seizure, and so do a couple of the Pre-K teachers. I am a bit concerned about starting this school year and whether I should say something to my principal. The last time I was at her school was her first year there and was my first year teaching Kindergarten (my ONLY year teaching anything other than Pre-K, which seems to be my true niche and which I've taught every year since), and she was very slap-dash with my evaluations and tried to non-renew my contract, and this was after I had been tenured with the system. I had to get my teacher's association involved (PAGE) and they got me an attorney who went to bat for me. I don't want to have to go through that again, and there's a little fear in the back of my mind that, if I do mention the seizure I had, the principal might "find" things to try to get me gone again. I don't know if I should say anything to anyone higher up than her or not, or just wait to see if I ever have another one again. I'm 45, and this was my first-ever seizure. I certainly don't want to scare anyone, least of all the kids (these are 4-year-olds), so I'm not sure exactly what to do -- yet.
 

Nick88

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Wow! It amazes me that you manage to get jobs as teachers. I trained as an EFL teacher but no school will employ me. Some actually tell me that my epilepsy is the reason they won't give me a job (which I'm pretty sure is illegal but o well, same thing everywhere isn't it?)
 
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