Epilepsy and school performance: the influence of teacher factors and seizure control on children with epilepsy
Epilepsy is a chronic illness impacting the lives of over 300,000 children nationally. Sexson and Madan-Swain offer a theory that addresses successful school reentry in children that are chronically ill. Their theory posits that successful school reentry is influenced by school personnel with appropriate attitudes, training experiences, and by factors relating to the child's illness. The parents of 74 students, between second and twelfth grades, completed a questionnaire addressing their child's epilepsy and their current level of seizure control. Each child's homeroom teacher also completed a survey regarding their training experiences about epilepsy and their attitudes towards individuals with epilepsy. Additional information was gathered from the child's school regarding attendance rates, most recent Terra Nova test scores (a group achievement test), and special education enrollment status. Data were analyzed via four multiple regression analyses and one logistic regression analysis. It was found that seizure control was a significant predictor for attendance, academic achievement (i.e., mathematics, writing, and reading), and special education enrollment. Additionally, teachers' attitudes towards epilepsy were a significant predictor of academic achievement (writing and reading) and special education enrollment. Teacher training experience was not a significant predictor in any of the analyses.