Disability Scenarios

Seizure Disorder 

Disability description and career possibilities:
This student has a seizure disorder that is controlled for the most part by medication. Although he has had gran mal seizures in the past, most seizures that he now experiences are the milder, petit mal variety. These episodes may resemble “spacey” behavior, such as a blank stare for 30 seconds or so, or some other odd, perhaps repetitive movement for a short period of time. Many individuals with seizure disorders work full time at any number of occupations. Depending on the nature and severity of the disorder, driving or working with dangerous machinery may not be an option. 

Basic access needs for classrooms and lab:

Note taking:
There should be no problem with the student taking his own notes. 

Test taking:
Depending on the dosage, the medications which control seizure activity can cause drowsiness, making taking tests in the “standard” length of time difficult. It may be fairer for the student to take lengthy tests outside of class. We call this Testing Accommodations. When such accommodations are appropriate, the student will be given a form to present to the instructor. This gives the instructor control over how the test will be delivered to our office, and other details such as whether notes, calculators, or other provisions can be used by the student.  

If a Grand Mal seizure should occur:

  1. Stay calm!
  2. Help the person into a lying position. Do not try to restrain the person’s movement. You cannot stop the seizure.
  3. Clear the area of objects that may cause injury. Remove glasses and loosen tight clothing.
  4. Turn the head to one side to allow saliva to drain from the mouth.
  5. Do not put anything into the person’s mouth.
  6. Stay with the person until he or she is fully awake.
  7. It is rarely necessary to call for medical attention, unless an injury has occurred, or if the person is having difficulty breathing following the incident.  

If it appears that a Petit Mal seizure has occurred:
Gently approach the student and ask if he or she is doing OK. Often, he or she will not realize that a seizure has occurred. Generally, the student will remain in class, although for a short period of time he or she may be a bit disoriented.


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Brent Jordan

Brent Jordan
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Last Modified Nov 21, 2014