Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior
Objective: Relative to the general population, children with epilepsy (CWE) demonstrate difficulties in aspects of cognition and mental health. Previous studies have found that teachers have poor knowledge about epilepsy, which may lead to inadequate management of CWE’s comorbidities and seizures, potentially impacting CWE’s school performance, social development, and safety. The current study aimed to evaluate whether a brief training program improves teachers’ epilepsy knowledge.
Method: Participants included pre-service teachers enrolled in the Faculty of Education at Western University (London, Ontario, Canada). There were no exclusion criteria. Pre-service teachers completed a questionnaire evaluating their experiences and knowledge of epilepsy prior to, and two weeks following, the training program. The training program consisted of a 10.5-min video and booklet that described the characteristics of seizures, seizure first aid, and the cognitive, psychological, and social consequences of epilepsy.
Results: Pre-service teachers’ knowledge about epilepsy, seizure safety, and common comorbidities associated with epilepsy significantly improved after participating in the training program. Furthermore, pre-service teachers indicated greater self-reported knowledge about epilepsy and greater preparedness to handle a seizure in the classroom.
Conclusion: The results of the current study demonstrated that a brief, cost-effective training program significantly enhances teachers’ knowledge about epilepsy, seizure safety, and the comorbidities associated with epilepsy. Enhancing teachers’ knowledge about epilepsy has the potential to improve children’s academic and social success in school.