How to Become “Seizure Smart”

From the desk of Kennedy Lawton, Marketing, Communications + Special Events Coordinator for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York.

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The Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, an independent affiliate of the National Epilepsy Foundation, offers a variety of educational programs to teach professionals, students, and other community members about epilepsy and seizure recognition and first aid.

At the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, we feel strongly that a “seizure smart” community is a safer, more inclusive and welcoming one; stigma around epilepsy exists to this day, and many people living with epilepsy do not feel comfortable disclosing their epilepsy to others for fear of being stigmatized.

People with epilepsy may face fear and apprehension from others, may be excluded from activities and even discriminated against (especially in the workplace) out of fear about what would happen if the person had a seizure. There are some people who may still hold beliefs that epilepsy is a spiritual affliction or punishment, rather than a neurological disease. But, if members of a community are educated on what epilepsy and seizures are and how to best help a person having a seizure, this can help mitigate any fear or misunderstanding that exists to help foster greater understanding, acceptance, safety and support for employees, coworkers, customers or consumers in a community who are affected by epilepsy.

Therefore, our agency would like YOU to invite us in to your business or workplace to provide education on epilepsy and seizures so that your business or workplace environment will be a “seizure smart” one. A representative or volunteer for the agency will come on-site to your workplace to offer free education.

Our education programs cover:

  • Epilepsy and seizures 101
  • Recognizing common seizure types
  • How to respond to seizures (first aid)
  • Identifying seizure emergencies (when to call 911)
  • Epilepsy treatments
  • Supporting a person with epilepsy

Partnering with Excelsior College during their annual Excelsior Cares Volunteer Week, our goal is to educate as many workplaces and businesses as we can during the week of April 8 – 12, 2019 so that Epilepsy Foundation staff and volunteers (faculty and staff) from Excelsior College may get the word out about epilepsy and make our professional community “seizure smart.”9

It is estimated that one in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. It is estimated that one in 10 people will have a seizure in their lifetime. If you were with a coworker, employee, customer, consumer, etc. during a seizure, would you know what to do?

For more information about our education programs or to invite us into your workplace, please contact Erica at edenicola@epilepsyneny.org or 518-456-7501.

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