Epilepsy in children is a brain disorder that causes seizures. A seizure happens when there’s a surge in the brain’s normal electrical activity, often causing involuntary movements and other symptoms.
There are many different forms of epilepsy in children, including juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, benign rolandic epilepsy, rolandic epilepsy, and many others. Most kids respond well to anti-seizure medications or other kinds of treatment. That means, despite their condition, kids with epilepsy can often reach their full potential in school, family, community, and social activities.
Epilepsy is usually treated with medicines. If medicines don't control the seizures, sometimes a special diet, such as a ketogenic diet, is tried. A ketogenic (or keto) diet is a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet and can sometimes reduce seizures.
For hard to control seizures, doctors may recommend vagal nerve stimulation (VNS), which is a device that stimulates the vagal nerve, or surgery.
How Can I Help My Child?
Most kids with epilepsy can lead a normal life. To help your child live better with epilepsy, be sure he or she:
takes medicine(s) as prescribed
avoids triggers (such as excessive stress, lack of sleep, antihistamine drugs)
gets help for any learning or behavior problems
sees the neurologist as recommended
It's important to keep your child safe during a seizure. So make sure that other adults and caregivers (family members, babysitters, teachers, coaches, etc.) know what to do.
Reviewed by: Harry T. Chugani, MD
Date reviewed: October 30, 2017