One in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their life – that’s one person diagnosed with epilepsy every 4 minutes, every day. The good news is that many of these patients can have complete seizure control with medication. Even those who have occasional seizures from time to time can still lead perfectly normal lives. The bad news is that most people don’t know this. Many epilepsy patients end up being inappropriately limited in their activities and face discrimination in the work place, in public, and even at homes.
We at the Epilepsy Foundation of Idaho (EFI) believe that it is important to breakdown the stigma of epilepsy through education and awareness. The best way to achieve this goal is by educating people when they are still young – eliminating the stigma before it has a chance to develop. We have developed the Kids-Teaching- Kids-Epilepsy program as a pilot program for the Epilepsy Foundation of America. This program raises epilepsy awareness while also teaching slide presentation and public speaking skills to young kids. The programs requires active participation from one classroom (4th to 6th grade is best) at each participating school with the following agenda:
1. Mid-November: An EFI volunteer will meet with the primary classroom for about 30 minutes to introduce the program and to provide some basic education about epilepsy. The kids will be provided with a Get Smart About Seizures and Epilepsy quiz.
2. Late November: The kids are encouraged to take the quiz home and to give it to as many friends and relatives as possible during the Thanksgiving Break. Winner gets a prize!
3. Mid-December: The EFI volunteer returns to the classroom (30 minutes) to re-enforce epilepsy education, de-brief the kids on their quiz experience, and award a modest prize to the child who gave the quiz to the greatest number of people. Goals of the program are explained again and internet resources are
4. December to March: Working in groups (2-3), together with their teacher, and with help as needed from their EFI volunteer, the kids make their own Epilepsy 101 slide presentations, using online resources:
- Five slides with basic facts about epilepsy.
- Five slides about seizure first aid.
- Five slides about famous people with epilepsy and how it did not stop them.
5. March to May: The kids hone their presentation skills by practicing their slide decks in the classroom. The EFI volunteer, the teacher, and the school principle work together to identify a day in May when every other classroom in the school will accommodate 20 minutes for epilepsy education.
6. Kids Teaching Kids Epilepsy Teaching Day!! The kids work in groups of 2-3 with a chaperone volunteer (parents and/or EFI volunteers and/or Epilepsy Center staff volunteer). Each group will visit 2-3 classrooms and give their presentation for 15 minutes, followed by 5-10 minutes of questions and answers. The kids from the primary classroom run this educational activity. They are in charge. The adult chaperones are there to guide discussion and to answer any questions the kids cannot
7. Pizza Party for the primary classroom and volunteers to celebrate a job well done!!