I would like to thank Oratia Kindergarten who took the opportunity to support Epilepsy NZ becoming Purple Day heroes and selling Matariki muffins to raise funds to aid in creating an awareness about epilepsy. The teachers at Oratia Kindergarten took this opportunity to talk to the children and read a story about a child who has epilepsy written from the child’s point of view explaining what epilepsy is, how their friends can help and where there is no stigma. Oratia Kindergarten raised $300.

My name is Jen. I am a parent of Liam 4 who is currently at Oratia Kindergarten and Jacob 6.  I have epilepsy. The reason I approached the kindergarten regarding Purple Day, was to create awareness not just about what epilepsy is, but what to do if you see someone having a seizure.

In the past when the subject of epilepsy has arisen between myself and other parents during pick-up and drop-offs, two questions that are often asked are:

  • What is epilepsy?
  • What do I do if you have a seizure here?

The answers to which are: Epilepsy is a condition which affects the brain by sending mixed messages confusing various parts in your body to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Dropping to the floor and shaking (tonic clonic) is only one of the many different types of seizures affecting people in different ways.

To a child I have always likened it to the weather – it is like a lightning storm inside my head and the lightning bolts flash to different parts of my brain making my body do things I don’t want it to do.

We have always tried to keep the description simple for our children with more detail and correct terminology as they have gotten older.

As a mum, I want to protect my children and have always worried about the impact my condition will have on them.

Recently I had a clonic seizure, resulting in the loss of my licence. We now live in an area 5km away from kindergarten and 6km to the closest public bus stop. Unfortunately I could not travel to kindy on the school bus. The first thought I had was, ‘How do I tell Liam he cannot attend kindy?’ as this is his favourite place.

This is where being part of an understanding, supportive community is so vital. The supportive parents, some of who we had only a quick ‘hi, bye’ relationship to in passing, were aware of my condition and what the loss of my licence would mean in our area. On finding out I had the seizure they offered to help where they could so Liam could still attend Oratia Kindergarten.

I worry that my boys will be alone when I have a seizure. But they know what they should do if this happens and there are steps put in pace to ensure everyone is safe.

As a mother, another of my greatest fears is my boys being teased by their peers, and parents not allowing their children to play with my children, and not being able to play at our house because I might have a seizure in front of them.

Understanding epilepsy is so important and through my own personal experiences, I know how even the smallest amount of knowledge can make a huge difference. Share your knowledge about epilepsy.

Please click here to find about first aid for seizures.