Sample Curriculum

As an educator, you will most likely have at least one student who has epilepsy in your classroom in the course of your career. The classmates of the child who has epilepsy, as well as the other students in the school, will most likely be very curious about epilepsy, and we suggest talking with the young people to make them aware of what epilepsy is and how they might be able to help if they see their classmate having a seizure. This open communication with the other children will ease the fears that they might have, will prepare them in case they do witness a seizure, and will create an understanding, supportive classroom and school climate that will help in the social and emotional adjustment of the student who has epilepsy.

In order to help you create this compassionate climate, here is a sample educational curriculum that you can modify to make it applicable to the age and educational level of your students. If you currently have a student in your classroom that has epilepsy, we encourage you to contact his or her family and get their feedback about the lesson plan. If family members or the student would like to personally participate in the discussion, they can provide invaluable insights and information for the class. However, if the family or the student does not want to be identified as having epilepsy, those wishes must be respected.

For additional information and input while planning your classroom’s lesson on epilepsy, please call the Epilepsy Foundation community education coordinator at 1-800-361-5885 in western PA or 1-800-336-0301 in central PA.

Overview of Lesson Plan

  • To provide information about the more common types of seizures (generalized tonic-clonic, absence, and complex partial)
  • To provide information about appropriate first aid steps for different seizure types
  • To encourage young people to treat people with epilepsy with respect and acceptance
Objective Activity
1. Define:
Seizure — abnormal electrical activity in a person’s brain that makes them do or feel something they can’t stop from happening.

Epilepsy — when someone has seizures over and over again.
Have students share whether they know someone who’s had seizures before, if they’ve seen a seizure before, what they think epilepsy is, and correct myths/misconceptions with definitions.
2. Define and discuss three major types of seizures: generalized tonic-clonic, absence, complex partial.
(Click here for information on the types of seizures)
Write names of seizure types on board or flipchart. Have students practice saying names of seizure types, if age appropriate.

Describe symptoms of each seizure type, with student input if appropriate.
3. Discuss appropriate first aid steps for a complex partial and a generalized tonic-clonic seizure.
(Click here for information on seizure first aid)
Ask students what steps they would take to keep a person having these kinds of seizures safe and supplement their responses with any steps they may not have mentioned.

If age appropriate, students can role play assisting a person having a tonic-clonic seizure.
4. Discuss the importance of respecting people who have epilepsy. Have students talk about what they would like people to do for them if they were ever to have a seizure. (friendship, respect, support, understanding)

Have students reflect on the idea of treating other people as they want to be treated, no matter what differences might exist between them, and how they feel whenever they are treated with disrespect vs. whenever they are treated with respect.

Have students make a promise to treat people who have epilepsy with respect. (verbal promise, signing a Promise Banner to hang in the classroom, creating individual artwork that depicts how each student will help someone who has epilepsy)
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