Hesperian Health Guides
Helping the Community Understand Epilepsy
Seizures can be frightening to those who see someone having them. For this reason, epileptic children (and adults) sometimes have a hard time gaining acceptance in the community.
Rehabilitation workers need to help everyone in the community realize that epilepsy is not the result of witchcraft or the work of evil spirits. It is not a sign of madness, is not the result of bad actions by the child or parents or ancestors, is not an infectious disease, and cannot be ‘caught’ or spread to other people.
It is important that epileptic children go to school and take part in day-to-day work, play, and adventures in family and village life. This is true even if seizures are not completely under control. The schoolteachers and other children should learn about epilepsy and how to protect a child when she has a seizure. If they learn more about epilepsy it will help them to be supportive rather than afraid or cruel. (See "CHILD-to-child activities".)
Although children with epilepsy should be encouraged to lead active, normal lives, certain precautions are needed—especially for children who have sudden seizures without warning. Village children can learn to help in the safety of such a child—especially at times when danger is greatest.