Shawnessey Cargile of the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee visited the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library recently to inform both children and adults about epilepsy, and how they …
Shawnessey Cargile of the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee visited the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library recently to inform both children and adults about epilepsy, and how they can help those they know who have the condition.
Epilepsy affects 1 of every 50 children in the United States. To help explain what epilepsy is to a younger audience, Cargile shared a story called “What Just Happened To Sally?” The story was about a girl who witnessed her friend having a seizure and did not understand what she saw. It continued to explain what epilepsy is in a simple way.
“Something will make [someone with epilepsy’s] brain swell,” Cargile said. “And when their brain swells their body starts to do things that they can’t control.”
While Cargile read through the story, he showed videos of different people who were having seizures. Each video showed the different ways someone might experience a seizure.
“Some kids have what’s called an absent seizure,” Cargile said. “This doesn’t look like a seizure, the person doesn’t know they are having it and the people around them don’t know what’s happening. They seem to be in a trance. They probably aren’t going to be able to talk or be able to communicate.”
Cargile had a conversation with the kids in order to ensure they understood what they were seeing. He also demonstrated how the kids could help their friends if they were to ever see them having a seizure.
“If they are lying on their back [having a seizure], you can help them roll on their side,” Cargile said. “You can also place a pillow under their head to keep their head safe,” from uncontrolled movements, Cargile added.
A common myth is to put a pen or another item in someone’s mouth if they are having a seizure, but Cargile recommends that you don’t attempt this because such an item can pose choking hazard.
The children finished the event by coloring pages from the story they had just read.
One of the parents who attended the event with her own children wanted her kids to be more informed about various health issues.
“I feel like it was very well designed,” she said. “It was something kids could understand and also something grown-ups could learn from, as well.”
For more information about epilepsy and other awareness events, visit http://epilepsy-setn.org/.
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