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Epilepsy

30 November 2010

Recognising the hidden signs of epilepsy

Epilepsy should be diagnosed as early as possible to give a child the best chance for treatment success and a normal childhood and future.

Epilepsy should be diagnosed as early as possible to give a child the best chance for treatment success and a normal childhood and future. 

Recognising "hidden signs" in children
Signs that may mean a young child is having seizures include the following:

  • Short spells of blank staring that look like daydreaming.
  • Sudden falls for no apparent reason.
  • Lack of response for brief periods.
  • Dazed behaviour.
  • Unusual sleepiness and irritability when wakened.
  • Repetitive nodding.
  • Rapid blinking.
  • Frequent complaints from the child about things looking, sounding, tasting, smelling or feeling "funny".
  • Clusters of "jackknife" movements in babies sitting down.
  • Clusters of grabbing movements with both arms in babies lying on their backs.
  • Sudden stomach pain followed by confusion and sleepiness.
  • Repeated movements that look out of place or unnatural.
  • Frequent stumbling or unusual clumsiness.
  • Sudden episodes of fear for no apparent reason.

  • Blank staring, followed by chewing, picking at clothes, mumbling or random movements.
  • Sudden fear, anger or anxiety for no apparent reason.
  • Muscle jerks of the limbs or body, especially in the early morning.
  • Reporting sensory changes: things look, sound, smell or feel strange or different.
  • Memory gaps.
  • Dazed behaviour.
  • Being unable to talk or communicate normally for a short time.

  • Learning disabilities: brief blackouts (loss of consciousness) make it hard to follow the teacher's instructions and keep up with lessons in the classroom.
  • Safety risks. Sudden loss of awareness in certain situations, such as swimming, climbing or riding a bicycle, can result in serious injury.
  • Behaviour problems. The child may experience feelings that he or she cannot  communicate, and so becomes frustrated and "acts out".
  • Social problems. The child and people he or she comes into contact with do not understand the cause of the child's unusual behaviours. The child may withdraw socially or be excluded by other children.

 

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