Question: Epilepsy (a little long)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by hatima, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Aug 4, 2012

    :help: In my graduate class (special education) we have to create a case study on a student with an intellectual disability or a developmental delay. The student I am "creating" has a mild intellectual disability due to epileptic seizures. I am using the following website. We had to choose a cause for the ID.

    http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/livingwithepilepsy/educators/index.cfm

    Here is what I have on my student. She is a twin, has developed normally, began having seizures in first grade. She is now in third grade and has a mild ID (IQ 70). I did learn from the educators section referenced above that a very small percentage of those with epilepsy do have an ID of 70 or lower.

    My question, for those who are more experienced with is it reasonably realistic that this student was without seizures until about 6 or 7 years old and then the seizures caused an intellectual disability? My gut tells me it is. :eek: If I'm way off base please let me know. (I had a blinding migraine at the time I wrote the case study, and based it off a few children and adults I have met with epilepsy--most I have met seem to have a average intelligence, I did not test them).

    Would it be more reasonable to assume my student had seizures prior to 6/7 years old that were few or unnoticed?

    Is is common for a student with epilepsy to use a helmet? A student at the school I worked at had a helmet, she wore it most of the time she was out of her classroom. She did not need the helmet two years prior. I do have the student with the helmet outside her special and general education classroom. She is about 70/30 special and general ed for her LRE.

    I hope this is at least somewhat clear. Sorry it is so long.
    Thank you for your patience and help.
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Aug 4, 2012

    I have never had a student with epilepsy who used a helmet. All of my students have been average or above intelligence. I had one student who had vision issues due to his seizures, so he needed large-print materials. I have one this year who has frequent seizures, and he needs repeated directions and extra time to complete his assignments because he "zones out" and misses instruction and work time.

    My mother is epileptic, and she had uncontrolled seizures for 10-12 years. She did not have any long-term issues from the seizures, but she does have issues from the medication. She has a lot of trouble processing numbers, and she has liver enzyme issues. Number processing is not uncommon with my students. I have them for English, so I usually don't see it in my room. My good English students with epilepsy are often in the low-level math classes and still struggle.

    My mother's seizures are caused by a malformation of blood vessels in her brain, and it is a birth defect. However, she did not notice any seizure activity until 1988, and she was not diagnosed with a seizure disorder until she had her first grand mal seizure in 1996. The initial seizures were completely unnoticed, and the first ones she noticed were still not clearly identified as seizures. She just felt funny or was missing time in her day.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Aug 4, 2012

    The reason for helmets are for several reasons: a child that is prone to lots of seizures and falling fast is prone to head injury. It is possible the medical condition causing the epilepsy has something to do with skull growth and a helmet is needed. A head injury could have caused the epilepsy and the helmet is needed to reduce further injury. The child may have had surgery and the helmet protects the healing skull.

    I would not say a helmet is common, but there are reasons why someone with epilepsy might be wearing one for a long time.
     
  5. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Aug 4, 2012

    Thank you Ima Teacher, this information was helpful. I appreciate it.
     
  6. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Thank you a2z
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I think it is more reasonable to assume the student had seizures prior to 6/7, but they were unnoticed. We had a student this year in our early years classroom that had seizures for the first time. However, once the parents and teachers were made aware of this, they could look back and recall possible other episodes.

    I have never heard of a child with seizures wearing a helmet, but if that is the case, they must have had frequent seizures.
     
  8. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Thank you, Miss.Scrimmage.

    I appreciate all the help. :)
     
  9. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I do not know if it is common for children to wear a helmet. I know that when I was diagnosed with epilepsy if anyone had suggested I wear a helmet they would have been on my "I will not speak to this hideous creature again list." I was 17 at the time though. I do know no one that I know who has epilepsy who was not severely disabled with epilepsy being a part of the disability would wear helmets if they had any choice.

    I guess part of the question would be how old is the child in your report supposed to be? How long has the child been having seizures and how many seizures is the child having? Has there been a rise in the last few years?

    I and other people I know had seizures which started with a few and got seizures more often as they got older, so that is very common.

    I would think the child would need to be having seizures a lot of the time for it to have an intellectual delay from it. Epilepsy is a neurological disability. I am not sure what you mean by an intellectual disability, do you mean have trouble thinking? It could happen if a person is having seizures regularly. If a person is having tonic clonic seizures weekly or more that would probably do it. If they are having complex partials daily or several times a week that could do it. If the seizures are once a month or less it is doubtful unless there is another possible cause for the delay in thinking skills.


    It is possible that the child would appear to be developmentally delayed due to the medication she/he would be taking to control the seizures. Most people I know who have had seizures, if the seizures are not weekly or more often than that, the disability is more caused by the powerful medication they are on.

    It is possible the child had seizures which were not noticed before diagnosis depending on the type of seizure the child is having. If the seizures are primarily generalized tonic clonic seizures and that is all the child has had (and it is documented through EEGs) then it is doubtful. If the seizures are absence seizures then it would be possible they were not noticed for quite a while when the child was having them. If the seizures are secondarily generalized then it is certainly possible especially if the child has simple partial or complex partial seizures which sometimes generalize to tonic clonic seizures.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Aug 5, 2012

    When I was in my self-contained class K-2, there was a girl who had mild intellectual disabilities + a hand that was nonfunctional due to a seizure she had at 1 year old (which led to a stroke)

    For the student you are creating, you could make them a micro premie who had bleeding on the brain (which can cause anything from nothing to death) w/ PVL that caused seizures and other disorders as a result of the seizure disorder
     
  11. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    If seizures are frequent and often result in falls, a helmet is not uncommon. A fall could cause injury to the head so it makes sense. I've had epilepsy for 2 years, had 2 seizures in 2 years before it was discovered. Seizures can come in all forms so it's possible the student had seizures before and they were not noticed. For example, a seizure could appear to be someone suddenly staring out into space for a few seconds or a body part convulsing for a short time. Some people even have them in their sleep. I was never told to wear a helmet, but my seizures are not frequent.
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think your case study may be fairly difficult to go much further with because I'm not sure you will be able to make up much more meaningful info about Epilepsy related to ID without making a lot of neurological/neuropsychological data which would be important in doing an assessment with the child. In other words, I'm not sure you'd be really able to come up with hypothetical assessment data without a background in neuropsychology.
     
  13. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I worked with a girl who had "drop" seizures, and she wore a helmet any time she was upright. She also had a severe cognitive disability and was not independently mobile. That is the only time I have personally seen anyone with epilepsy wear a helmet.
     
  14. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    This is what I started to think. Some of the literature on it is really difficult for me to understand.
     
  15. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Thank you soo much for your post! Since I don't see people with helmets very often I did not think they were common. I don't want to upset my student by having this if it is not necessary, thank you. It helped clarify some things for me. I appreciate your help! My student is in third grade (9 years old). Her seizures were noted in first grade. I wasn't aware there were so many different types. I knew there was absence (I didn't know what they were called) and ones that were more of the falling to the ground.

    My concern over the case study was the actual truth to back it up. I wrote it with a massive migraine and couldn't see. I have to continue it next week and know my teacher will support me changing anything I need to change. Your infomation can help me reach the changes I need to make. :)

    The class I am taking is on Developmental Delays and MR (Obama passed a law called "Rosa's Law" which changes MR to ID. Though our class materials still use the term MR, our professor wants us to use ID since that is the terminology the state uses and it is less derogatory than MR.
     
  16. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Thank you for clarifying how my case study student would be more realistic. I sort of pictured a student whose functioning changed drastically after increase in seizures. I worked with her often and then went to a different school. I could tell the difference right away, she was now in fourth grade. I then became responsible to assess her reading (using the DRA2) and really noticed the difference in her concentration and focus compared to second grade. She has a visual impairment. I'm not sure if her seizures were related to epilepsy or something else. She did walk around school with a helmet on.

    Thank you. I had a friend in HS who had epilepsy. She never had a helmet. But, I remember she had to get a judges approval to drive, due to the medications she was on.

    I learned that there are different types of seizures a few years ago. I was working in an ISP classroom and an EA asked me when a student started to do something. He frequently stared off into space and then his muscles would jerk. Since I frequently saw him do this and the teacher NEVER left lesson plans I had no idea he was having a seizure. I was so mad when the EA told me I needed to note the time it started and ended. I think this student and the one mentioned above really draw my interest into seizures and causes and effects.

    Thank you both.
     
  17. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Aug 6, 2012

    If you want to do a gradual change, do a more severe version of what I saw when I did one of my observations for my Education program.

    The child was in resource room, he was in third grade. He had a stroke in first grade which caused mild cognitive impairment (His IQ was still above ID levels, but you could easily make this fake student have a more severe stroke, causing lower IQ) along with an auditory processing disorder.

    Also, here is an example of the good seizures can bring:
    Before my first seizure (which lasted 1 hr 45 minutes, look up status epilepticus), I was unable to do math (i.e. 1+1), I could do math when it was put into words (one plus one equals), but if you put it into numbers, I couldn't do it.

    Then I had my first seizure. Afterwards, I was able to start understanding math and numbers, however, to this day, I still have a deficit in math skills (Grade Equiv. ranges from 7.2 to 11.5)
     
  18. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Bros, thank you. I hadn't thought about strokes, but that does make sense. About 10 years ago my grandma had a pretty bad stroke. (I haven't seen her in about 20 years :() She has been different since the stroke.

    Wow! That stroke must have been pretty scary.

    I will get my grade back tomorrow on the Case Study. All of the responses on this board will help me immensely improve my plan before I have to do the next part.
     

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