Anna was very excited to start her first day of school. She had her backpack filled to the top with all her favorite books and with her brightly coloured pens. She was a bright girl and she loved to read and draw pictures.
Her mum dropped Anna at the school gate, “goodbye sweet heart, you are a super star, don’t forget your lunch!”
Anna bounded through the gate barely controlling her enthusiasm for finally being at big kid school with her two older siblings. She quickly found her classroom and chose a desk at the front of the room.
“Good morning 1A”, Mrs Allen called out to Anna’s new class.
“Good morning Mrs Allen”, they responded in union.
“It is so wonderful to see so many new bright faces, lets get to know each other a little better. Can we all get in a circle and tell each other our names and any other special thing about ourselves, I’ll start”.
“My name is Mrs Allen and my favorite thing to do is bake cakes.”
“My name is Fred and my favorite hobby is eating cakes”, the class giggled hysterically.
“My name is Anna….”
Anna began to feel very nervous, she started breathing very quickly and before long she lost consciousness and toppled over. For what seemed like a long while Anna was looking up into the night watching stars shoot across the sky.
Anna woke a few minutes later to the sight of thirty frightened 6 year olds peering over here.
She could hear Mrs Allen talking quickly to a man dressed in a green outfit, “Anna was about to introduce herself to the class when she became very stiff then she began to jerk her limbs. I think she may have bitten her lip quite badly. I have had many students with epilepsy so I knew how to keep her safe. After a few minutes of fitting she has remained in a deep sleep”.
The green man lifted Anna from the ground and placed her on a bed in the back of an ambulance and they rushed to the hospital. Anna’s mum met Anna at the hospital and they were taken straight to the special brain doctor.
“Hello Karen and Anna my name is Dr Harry Barry and I am a children’s brain doctor. Has Anna every had any fitting like this before?”
“This has happened once before to my knowledge, we were at home and it only lasted about 1 minute. I have epilepsy so my husband and I knew how to manage it”.
“By the sounds of things it seems that Anna has had a generalised tonic clonic seizure. This is a type of epileptic fit. Epilepsy is a problem in the brain where there are sudden recurrent periods of disturbances in your sensation, loss of consciousness, and fitting associated with abnormal brain activity.
This is very common and I have seen many children, just like you Anna who have experienced what happened to you today. I will need to do a few tests to make sure there isn’t something specific that has caused this”.
“Anna, I need to place a few little tabs on your head which talk to you brain, these tabs tell me how your brain is working so I can know whether or not you brain is working properly. This is called an EEG”.
Anna looked very silly with all the tabs and wires placed on her head!
“The little tabs tell me that you are a very smart little girl! Is this right Karen?” Karen smiled.
“The EEG is completely normal. It is quite common for children to have seizures with completely normal EEG’s. Sometimes the seizures have no cause what so ever and can just happen.”
“I want you to meet my nurse, she knows all about managing epilepsy and will teach you more about the condition and how to inform your teacher and school friends.”
“You are a very smart girl Anna and your epilepsy will not affect your ability to learn and thrive at school one bit!”
“At this stage I will advise that we observe Anna to determine whether she continues to have fits. If the epilepsy is continuing to be a problem we can start Anna on some drugs that will stop her having seizures. These drugs are long term so I want to wait before I start her on them.”
“It was very nice to meet you both today”, Dr Harry Barry opened his drawer to give Anna a shiny gold sticker. “You’re a super star Anna!”
Karen and Anna left the Dr Harry Barry’s room feeling reassured.
For more information about epilepsy:
Click for Kids is an epilepsy education and seizure first aid program which covers: what epilepsy is, how epilepsy is caused, how epilepsy is treated, and how to respond to a seizure. Increasing awareness and understanding of epilepsy will reduce bullying, injury and death from seizures.
Information for children affected by epilepsy.
Epilepsy Society is the UK’s leading provider of epilepsy services. Through cutting edge research, awareness campaigns, information resources and expert care, they work for everyone affected by epilepsy in the UK.