User:Danielle Michaels/Books/Seizure Training

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Seizure Training


Information is POWER!!

As a teacher, you know that information is power. On this wiki page, you’ll find the information needed to educate yourself, your colleagues, and your students about the realities of epilepsy, so that you can help foster better understanding about—and greater compassion for—individuals living with epilepsy.

Share the link and spread the knowledge.

What are Seizures?

Teaching epilepsy awareness in your class is an excellent way to enrich your curriculum. And through this wiki page, you’ll find comprehensive information to help you quickly understand many of the basics.


A seizure is the result of a sudden disruption of orderly communication among nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. This disruption can lead to a number of symptoms, which vary depending on where the disruption occurs in the brain and where the abnormal electrical activity spreads. For instance, the symptoms of a partial seizure might only be tingling in a finger, while a generalized seizure (grand mal) can cause a day dreaming-like effect or a loss of consciousness, along with uncontrollable jerking motions.

Epilepsy is a disorder in which people experience repeated seizures. It is a condition that affects the electrical activity of the brain, making a person likely to have seizures.

Note that not everything that looks like a seizure is a seizure. And not every seizure is related to epilepsy. Simply put, a student with epilepsy is prone to having repeated seizures—but, someone who has just one seizure may not have epilepsy.

Non-epileptic seizures can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Fainting Heart disease
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Stroke
  • Drug and alcohol withdrawal

Not all seizures are alike. There are numerous types of seizures, which fall into two broad categories—generalized seizures and partial seizures.

  1. Generalized seizures affect the whole brain and cause a loss of consciousness.
  2. Partial seizures initially affect only part of the brain, and consciousness may or may not be affected.


Types of Seizures

Generalized Seizures

Watch a You Tube clip to undertand generalized seizures:

  • Tonic-Clonic Seizures

This is the type of seizure most people associate with epilepsy.
A generalized tonic-clonic seizure often begins without warning.
It involves a sudden stiffness of the body, followed by muscle contractions or jerking motions.
There may also be changes in blood pressure, an increase in saliva, and loss of bladder control.
This type of seizure has a high risk of injury due to the potential for falling to the ground and the sometimes violent jerking movements.

  • Absence seizures

Absence seizures often occur in young children and are commonly mistaken for daydreaming.

An absence seizure involves a brief disruption of consciousness—lasting from a few seconds to about half a minute.

Typically, this seizure starts suddenly: the student stops what he or she is doing and stares blankly.

This student’s eyes may roll upwards briefly before this event and then the episode disappears as quickly as it came.

There is usually a loss of awareness for a few seconds. For example, you may call the student’s name, and he or she won’t respond.

Absence seizures can happen many times a day.

  • Atonic seizures

Sometimes known as a "drop attack," atonic seizures cause a sudden loss of muscle tone.

This may result in the dropping of the head or a limb, or lead a student to fall to the ground.

There also may be a brief loss of consciousness. Because the student may fall to the ground, there is a risk of injury.

  • Myoclonic

Myoclonic seizures are one of the most common types of seizures, typically affecting children and young adults.

A myoclonic seizure involves a sudden contraction of muscles and can appear as a jerk of one or both arms or sometimes the head.

Myoclonic seizures may cause just a single jerk or several jerking movements.

Generally, the seizure is so brief that although the student loses consciousness, he or she may appear conscious.

While myoclonic seizures are common, you may be less likely to see them in the classroom as they often happen while falling asleep or within a short time of waking up.

Partial Seizures

Watch a You Tube clip to understand Partial Seizures:

  • Simple partial seizures

In this type of seizure, an electrical disturbance starts in one half (or hemisphere) of the brain, so the student may experience symptoms like twitching, numbness, dizziness, or disturbances to their senses. In a simple partial seizure, the student will remain conscious. Be aware that partial seizures can spread to involve both hemispheres of the brain. The resulting seizure would be categorized as "secondarily generalized."

  • Complex partial seizures

Like a partial seizure, a complex partial seizure starts in one hemisphere of the brain, and can spread to areas that involve consciousness. When there is an altered state of consciousness at the onset of the event, the student may experience a change in awareness and may seem confused. A common symptom is tugging at clothing; the student may seem conscious but it is important to remember that he or she is completely unaware of their actions.

Warning Signs, Triggers, and Treatment

Warning signs

Some people with epilepsy can detect when a seizure is coming.

This sensation has been called an “aura,” and can take many forms.

Examples of auras can include a feeling of pins and needles or a strange taste or smell. The problem is, the odd feelings that can precede a seizure are also very similar to what happens during a simple partial seizure. This means that the aura sensation could actually be the seizure. Because of this, many healthcare professionals are starting to veer away from the term "aura."

What can trigger a seizure?

Different things can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy. Seizures can be triggered by many factors, including:

  • Missing a dose of medication
  • Tiredness Missing meals
  • Taking illicit drugs
  • Increased stress level
  • Flashing lights
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Overheating or overexertion (hyperthermia)

Treating epilepsy

Epilepsy is most often treated with medications known as anti-epileptic drugs or AEDs, which are commonly prescribed by a primary care physician, an epileptologist, or a neurologist. Surgery and even specially prescribed diets, such as the ketogenic diet, can also be used to control seizures.

Act Now! What Should I Do?

As a teacher you are responsible for adhering to the particular seizure protocol for that particular student.  The protocol should include what the students seizures usually look like and how long to wait before you call for help.  

You can download the Seizure Protocol with the following link

 9-1-1 should be called if:

  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes
  • The student does not resume normal breathing after the seizure ends
  • The is no medical ID and no known history of seizures
  • The is an obvious injury
  • The person has diabetes 

Since calling 9-1-1 can be very costly and many students experience seizures on a regular basis, just adhere to the protocol for that particular student. They may have known episodes that last longer than 5 minutes and do not need emergency interventions. 

First Aid for Seizures

  1. Keep Student safe from injury; clear area & cushion head
  2. Have studentlay down on their side to allow secretions to drain out and keep the airway clear
  3. Monitor
  4. Speak calmly and reassuringly through the event 
  5. Allow student torest after seizure ends (they are often exhausted by the event)
  6. Administer medication if ordered and stated in the protocol
  7. Notify parent, school nurse, and DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!

First Aid for Seizures


more than anything, you must get into the habbit of documenting the seizure.  There should be a seperate form for each student so that we can keep track of seizure events that take place at school.  This will help with adjusting medications and can be very useful information to the doctor and parents. 

Document, Document, the form from this link

Educating My Students

High School Level

Posters on first aid to deal with epilepsy
Learning Objective: Raise awareness of the condition and the first aid procedures necessary to support someone through and after a seizure in the school environment.

  • Discuss information about epilepsy. 
  • Explain first aid procedures needed to help someone having a seizure and explain the following activity to students (15-20 minutes).

Activity: Students to design a poster to outline first aid and how to care for someone having a seizure (15-20 minutes).
The aim is to create a poster that:

  • Is colorful, bold, and eye-catching in design
  • Includes all the first aid advice in simple terms through images and short sentences
  • Can be displayed around the school to create awareness of the condition and what to do if someone has a seizure

Review and Follow Up

  • Use a brainstorming exercise to see what each student can remember from the poster work on epilepsy and first aid.
  • Students may try to find a library, sports center, etc, to display copies of their epilepsy posters to raise awareness of the condition and first aid needed.

Watch a video about a student living with epilepsy. Then create a newspaper article as part of the discussion.
Resources: Advice from students’ video and written accounts found on
Learning Objective: Raise awareness of epilepsy and how it can affect people, but also demonstrate the ways people can live a normal life.

Discuss information about epilepsy. (To learn more, visit the About Epilepsy and Epilepsy FAQs pages on
Watch video and hand out a written case study on a student living with epilepsy. Divide students into discussion groups, preferably 3 to 4 in a group (15-20 minutes).
Groups must discuss issues such as:

  • In what ways is this student’s life similar to their own?
  •  In what ways is this student’s life different from their own?
  • What effect does epilepsy have on someone’s life and the lives of family and friends?
  • What effects does epilepsy have on this student’s memory and behavior?
    One member of the group should write down the group’s ideas, and then each group can present its points on a particular issue to the rest of the students (2 minutes per group presentation).

Review and Follow Up

  • This could be incorporated as part of a follow up-lesson or to create a longer session.
  • Design a newspaper interview with the student in the case study.
  • Try to make the article lively and informative, and focus on how that student deals with everyday issues and how he or she feels about the way others treat people with epilepsy.


Bastable S. B. (2008). Nurse as educator
 Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice, 3rd ed. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Epilepsy Foundation (2008). Types of Seizures. Retrieved from

Epilepsy Foundation (2008). Epilepsy Classroom. Retreived from

Marin County Office of Education. (2010). Health & Wellness in the Classroom. Retrieved from

National Seizure Disorder Foundation. (2011). Seizure Disorder Education. Retreived from