Several training sessions were designed for the Israeli educational system to reduce the stigmas associated with epilepsy. The sessions provided tools for educators to use when assisting students suffering from the disorder.
Educational staff have dedicated countless hours preparing for the school year, which began in early September. This year, the second to begin against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the educational teams prepared by utilizing a hybrid approach that involved both remote and frontal instruction, making for more flexible and effective use of experts during their preparatory meetings. Aviva Feldman-Bahagi, who coordinates educational programs promoting awareness of and training for the care of children and teenagers with epilepsy at Rambam Health Care Campus was one such expert.
In recent years, Aviva has been instrumental in providing guidance to educational teams in Northern Israel on a wide array of topics relevant to the care of children and teenagers with epilepsy. Her goal is twofold – to assist the teaching staff in how best to help a child who may suffer an epileptic seizure during the school day, and to shatter stigmas associated with epilepsy, which often exacerbate the suffering of young people afflicted with the disorder.
The epilepsy educational program is organized under the auspices of the Unit of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital, under the leadership of Professor Mony Benifla. Thousands of teachers, educational staff, and students in northern and central Israel have already participated in the program. This year, the hybrid educational approach began with in-person instruction in local communities, including Daliyat al-Carmel and Netanya. Classes will continue during the fall months with comprehensive instruction in both Hebrew and Arabic.
Professor Benifla states, “Our department organizes educational activities throughout the year for all religious and ethnic sectors and age groups, to increase awareness of the problems of those who suffer from epilepsy. The opening of the new school year provided us with an opportunity for an educational ‘booster’ regarding this vital topic.”
Here are five little-known facts about epilepsy:
- The tongue is not swallowed during a seizure, and efforts should not be made to pull the tongue or force open the person’s mouth.
- The most common attacks (seizures) involve a brief period during which the person is unaware of their surroundings for several seconds.
- If the epileptic seizure does not exceed five minutes, there is generally no need to call an ambulance.
- In Israel, Knesset members, prominent business leaders, and well-known artists suffer from epilepsy.
- Most people suffering from this disorder do not experience epileptic seizures due to highly effective medications.