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Health Information For Parents
Kids with childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) have seizures where they “blank out” for a few seconds. Most kids with the typical form of CAE will grow out of the seizures in adolescence.
Absence seizures look like staring spells. They can happen up to 100 times a day. Because the seizures can look like daydreaming, they often go unnoticed. Sometimes, they’re misdiagnosed as ADHD.
A typical absence seizure starts suddenly in the middle of activity and ends abruptly. During one, a child might:
Some children also blink repetitively, smack or chew on their lips, or rub their hands together. These are called automatisms.
CAE is caused by genetic changes or mutations. Many children have a relative with CAE. Sometimes kids with absence seizures can have other types of seizures too.
CAE is diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist (a doctor who specializes in brain, spine, and nervous system problems). Breathing very fast (hyperventilating) can bring on absence seizures in most kids with CAE. So the doctor may ask a child to do this in the office or before some tests.
Further testing may include:
Absence seizures usually get better with medicines. If medicines don’t control the seizures, sometimes doctors will prescribe a special diet, such as a ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet is a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that can sometimes reduce seizures.
Kids with typical childhood absence epilepsy almost always lead a normal life. To help your child, make sure he or she:
Some kids with childhood absence epilepsy have trouble with learning, behavior, concentration, and attention. Get help from tutors and specialists early on to support academic, social, and emotional success.
It’s important to keep your child safe during a seizure. So make sure that other adults and caregivers (family members, babysitters, teachers, coaches, etc.) know what to do. Unlike other types of seizures, CAE is rarely associated with injury during a seizure.
Kids with benign rolandic epilepsy of childhood (BREC) have seizures that involve twitching, numbness, or tingling of the face or tongue.
Seizures are a common symptom of epilepsy, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Learn all about epilepsy, including what to do if you see someone having a seizure.
It comes from a Greek word meaning “to hold or seize,” and seizures are what happen to people with epilepsy. Learn more about epilepsy in this article written just for kids.
Epilepsy causes electrical signals in the brain to misfire, which can lead to multiple seizures. Anyone can get epilepsy at any age, but mostÂ new diagnoses are in kids.
What teachers should know about epilepsy, and what they can do to help students with the condition succeed in school.
Epilepsy surgery is an operation done on the brain to reduce or stop seizures.
Intractable epilepsy is when a child’s seizures can’t be controlled by medicines. Doctors may recommend surgery or other treatments for intractable seizures.
Kids with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) have one or more of several different kinds of seizures, which begin around the age of puberty.
Kids with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) have seizures that start in one of the temporal lobes of the brain. Seizures usually get better with medicine.
The brain controls everything we do, and is often likened to the central computer within a vast, complicated communication network, working at lightning speed.
If the brain is a central computer that controls all the functions of the body, then the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth to different parts of the body. Find out how they work in this Body Basics article.
Although seizures can be frightening, usually they last only a few minutes, stop on their own, and are almost never life-threatening.
Seizures are caused by a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. Find out what you need to know about seizures and what to do if your child has one.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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