Having epilepsy doesn’t mean you can’t be successful or do well at school or Uni. If you feel you have any difficulties with learning, it’s important to bring this up and try and get some help early. Getting some skills to help will make your life at school and Uni much easier.
There’s no denying that having epilepsy can sometimes cause very specific thinking, learning and attention problems related to the same part of the brain that’s involved with epilepsy. This might make it difficult to concentrate and remember things. It could be only minor problems for some people and others might really struggle.
Unwanted effects from some medications for epilepsy and worrying about having seizures can be a source of stress. On top of this, long hours of studying (and possibly partying) can also cause tiredness, even exhaustion. Not only does it make studying even harder it can also lead to seizures. To avoid this situation it’s a good idea to plan ahead so you don’t have to cram for exams, or stay up late finishing essays.
What is hard to accept for many people with epilepsy is that other health conditions are recognised in the education system and allowances are made during exam time, gym time and class time, but it seems there is less of this recognition and compromise for people with epilepsy.
Difficulties at school can be caused by:
If you are having problems, especially with your memory, you should discuss this with your doctor who might suggest getting assessed by a neuropsychologist. A neuropsychologist can do tests that can help pin point what sort of memory problems you have and find out exactly what your learning weakness, strengths and needs are and give you strategies to help you with them.
Click the play button to hear what school’s like for Nathan.
Click on the video to learn from students with epilepsy.