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According to the Epilepsy Foundation of America, epilepsy (seizure disorder) is a physical condition that occurs when there is a sudden, brief change in how the brain works (seizures). Seizures are sudden, brief, temporary states of abnormal brain functioning due to uncontrolled brain electrical discharges. Some people can experience a seizure and not have epilepsy (high fever convulsions or alcohol or drug related seizures). A single seizure does not mean that the person has epilepsy.


Blackouts or periods of confused memory.

Episodes of staring or unexplained periods of unresponsiveness.

Involuntary movement of arms and legs.

Fainting spells with incontinence or followed by excessive fatigue.

Odd sounds, distorted perceptions, episodic feelings of fear that cannot be explained.

(It is important to note that not all seizures involve the involuntary movement of arms and legs. Many seizures may appear like brief periods of fixed staring. For many individuals, epileptic seizures may be largely or wholly controlled by anti-convulsant medications).


Look for medical identification (e.g. medic alert).

Keep calm; let the seizure run its course.

Protect the individual from nearby hazards (e.g. sharp table edges).

Ease the student to the floor, if possible.

Loosen tie or collar.

Place folded jacket under head (protect head injury).

Turn the individual on his/her side to keep airway clear.

Reassure the person when consciousness occurs.

Call or have another person call security (x 2222).

Keep classmates from crowding student.

Deal with class concerns following the seizure in an effort to educate the class about seizure disorders.


In-class note-taker.

Taped lectures.

Extended time on exams (determined on an individual basis).

Extended time on assignments.


Allow flexibility on attendance requirements in case of hospitalization/crisis.

Allow frequent breaks during class or exam because some medications may cause drowsiness.

Provide outline of lectures.

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