The school experiences of children with epilepsy




Whiting, Cheryl

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With between 0.3 and 0.6 percent of Canadian children under the age of 18 affected by epilepsy, it is likely educators will work with this population at some point in their career. Epilepsy is consistently linked to academic underachievement and social difficulties; however, little is known about how students with epilepsy experience school, making their unique needs less familiar to school personnel. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to understand the school experiences of children with epilepsy. The specific objectives are to (1) identify children’s perceptions and experiences of having epilepsy at school; and (2) gain insights to inform future studies. Participants include six students (ages 7-12 years) with a diagnosis of epilepsy who reside in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Data was gathered through open-ended, semi-structured interviews. The children’s narratives were transcribed and analyzed to elicit the essential experiences of school children with epilepsy. Four categories were elicited from the children’s narratives: (1) The Seizure Experience, (2) The Educational Experience, (3) Social Belonging, and (4) Awareness. Implications for the school and directions for future research are discussed.



Educational psychology, Special education