Supporting Students with Seizure Disorder (Epilepsy)

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, there are 470,000 children living with epilepsy in the United States. This means around 6 per every 1,000 school-age children live with epilepsy. 

Most children with a diagnosis of epilepsy attend school regularly and can participate in school activities. Students with epilepsy may need to take medication at home or school and may need assistance to complete assignments or tests. Schools and districts can support students with seizure disorders by providing their educators and school personnel with information about seizure management and developing seizure action plans for students with a history of seizures.

Seizure Disorder (Epilepsy)

Epilepsy is a broad term used to describe a brain disorder that causes a seizure. There are several different types of seizures, and students often can experience more than one type. Seizures can range from generalized seizures that affect both sides of the brain to focal seizures that affect just one area of the brain. Signs and symptoms of seizures vary by type of seizure. Below is a list of possible seizure signs and symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Rapid blinking;
  • Staring into space;
  • Crying out;
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Falling;
  • Muscle jerks or spasms;
  • Twitching;
  • Changes in taste or smell; and
  • Confused or dazed.

Seizure Action Plan Requirements

Effective Oct. 3, 2023, Ohio Law requires a school nurse, or another district or school employee if the district or school does not have a school nurse, to create an individualized seizure action plan for each student enrolled who has an active seizure disorder diagnosis. School districts, community schools, STEM schools and chartered nonpublic schools are required to create and maintain individualized seizure action plans. Schools and districts must develop seizure action plans in collaboration with each student’s parent or guardian.  

The individualized seizure action plan should have the following components: 

  • A written request, signed by the student’s parent or guardian, to have seizure disorder prescriptions administered to the student; and 
  • A written statement from the student’s treating practitioner providing information on each drug prescribed to the student for a seizure disorder.  ​

Ohio law requires the school nurse (or alternative employee) to notify all school employees, contractors and volunteers who regularly interact with the student in writing of the existence and content of the seizure action plan. The school nurse (or alternative employee) coordinates seizure disorder care at the school and ensures all staff who interact with the student receive necessary training.  

Schools and districts must renew each seizure action plan at the beginning of each school year. Schools are responsible for maintaining the seizure action plan in the school nurse or administrator’s office.  

Sample Seizure Action Plans

The Ohio Department of HealthEpilepsy Foundation and Seizure Action Plan Coalition offer templates of seizure action plans. 

Seizure Training Requirements

A school district, community school, STEM school or chartered nonpublic school must designate at least one employee at each school building in addition to a school nurse to receive training on the implementation of seizure action plans every two years. The seizure training program should not exceed one hour. The training should qualify as professional development activity for the renewal of educator licenses.  

The seizure training program must address the following: 

  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a seizure;  
  • The appropriate treatment for a student who exhibits the symptoms of a seizure; and 
  • Administering drugs prescribed for seizure disorders. 

In addition, each person employed as an administrator, guidance counselor, teacher or bus driver must complete a minimum of one hour of training on seizure disorders by Oct. 3, 2025. Administrators, guidance counselors, teachers and bus drivers employed after Oct. 3, 2023, must complete the training within 90 days of employment. 

Seizure Training Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with the Epilepsy Foundation to offer free training programs for school staff. 

Note: Individuals responsible for the administration of emergency medications additionally need to meet the requirements in Ohio law. See the Department’s Medications in Ohio Schools webpage for further details on medication administration requirements.

Last Modified: 5/9/2024 10:36:26 AM