This paper discus various aspects of epilepsy such as the various deficits due to the disorder, its effects on the child's learning and the available treatments for epilepsy.
This is a brain disorder in which the clusters of the nerve cells or neurons in the brain behave abnormally. For instance, the normal pattern of the neural activities gets disturbed causing emotions, strong sensations, muscle spasms, strange behavior and loss of consciousness. This disorder has many possible causes such that anything that leads to the disturbance of the normal pattern of neural activities causes epilepsy. The brain damage and abnormal brain development may lead to seizures. For example, the exposure to drugs, high fever, abnormal levels of sodium in the blood and withdrawal from certain drugs may cause seizures. The disorder may develop due to an abnormality in the brain wiring, imbalance of the nerve signaling chemicals or neurotransmitters and sometimes a combination of these factors. A person is considered to have epilepsy if he/she has two or more seizures (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). Seizures are the episodes of the disturbed brain function that can cause variations in behavior or attention.
Deficits due to epilepsy
Executive function is handled by the largest part of the human brain referred to as the frontal lobe. The seizures on this part weaken the planning abilities making the children not to organize their thoughts and actions in a good way. This makes the children unable to stop the unwanted behaviors. Concerning the memory, the seizures causes a blow to the hippocampus and it starts to shrink and harden because this part is very sensitive to the changes in the activities of the brain. Also the seizures affect the amygdale part which is responsible for fundamental emotions, such as anger, fear, and sexual attraction (Epilepsy and Seizure Information for Patients and Health Professionals). The executive dysfunction due to epilepsy makes the children to develop an attention disorder and limited foresight (Svoboda, B. W., 2004).
Impacts of epilepsy on child's learning
Normally, the children with epilepsy experience many difficulties in life which are directly related to behaviors of learning. These learning behaviors can be affected by the psychosocial issues, seizures, developmental disorders and medications. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, the learning of children is affected by the psychosocial impacts of the disorder. Depending on the families' cultures, there may be some expectations that are not realistic for the children due to the various limitations that are placed on them by the illness. This negatively affects the ability of the children to learn and it sometime sets them up for negative reinforcement within the society. The seizures associated with the disorder have a very big effect on the children's learning behaviors. For instance, a child who has a seizure referred to as grand mal suffers from a short term loss of memory for a certain period.
Also, the child may loss the consciousness which make him/her to miss out in many classroom learning activities. The missing of some classroom time is due to staying in hospitals and visiting the doctors in relation to their epileptic conditions. Also, the management plans of the child are affected thus impacting the learning behaviors. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, development of management plan can reduce the negative impacts that the epileptic condition can have on the children. The factors such as the age the children started to have the seizures, the seizures frequency and the identification of the leaning deficits can affect the learning process of the child in an academic environment. Finally, the epilepsy medication may interfere with the learning abilities of the children because they have some side effects such as restlessness and reduction of concentration (Rella, J).
Treatment for epilepsy
Many of epileptic seizures are controlled by the use of drug therapy, particularly anticonvulsant drugs. The drug prescription to patients will depend on numerous factors including frequency and severity of the seizures as well as the person's age, health, and medical history. An appropriate diagnosis is carried on the type of the epilepsy in order to choose the best prescription of treatment. Apparently they are many drugs used to treat the disease and they are classified as older and anew drugs. The new include Dilantin, Phenobarbital, and Mysoline among others. The new ones comprise of Felbatol, keppra, Gabitril and many more. In general, the choice of treating epilepsy is often based on the patient's condition such as the side effects, other illness they may have and which delivery method is acceptable (Treatment for Epilepsy).
A continuing effort is being made by the international pharmaceutical companies to find safer and effective means of treating epilepsy. Apparently the effective means of treating epilepsy is through medication. In other cases patients can seek other methods if medication becomes ineffective. Then the patient can undergo brain surgery .Treating epilepsy by "natural means" means alone like using herbal remedies is ineffective and may be dangerous (The Epicentre).
To enhance the treatment of epilepsy, the scientists should spend their time to study the potential antiepileptic drugs. To achieve this, they should investigate how the neurotransmitters interact with the brain cells leading to the controlling of the nerve wiring and what contributes to the seizures. They should also try to determine the exact genes that influence epilepsy because this information will allow the physicians to prevent the disorder and make predictions on the treatments that will be more effective and beneficial. Further, the child with epilepsy should undergo regular comprehensive evaluations to determine their learning abilities.