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Behavioral Characteristics of Children With Epilepsy

by Tony Myles, studioD

Identifying the characteristics of epilepsy in your child doesn't need to begin with her first seizure. According to Dr. William B. Svoboda of Epilepsy.com, it's possible to see brief periods of abnormal behavior leading up to a seizure, during a seizure, or for a few days following a seizure. Use a journal to track her atypical actions, socializing or attitude so you can more accurately share your observations with your doctor.

Physical Characteristics

Pay attention to any sudden jerking your child may exhibit, especially just before sleeping. Typical epileptic movements to look for include excessive head nodding, rapid blinking and "jackknife" movements, according to Parenthood.com.

Note any excessive clumsiness, such as the inability to stand or walk straight. Epilepsy characteristically creates strong surges of electrical activity in the brain that affects even the most basic motor skills, according to the Epilepsy Foundation of America.

Watch your child when playing video games or in strobe light environments. These often trigger seizures in young people, and you can typically see them struggling with it as if they're having a short-circuit in their brain.

Review any trends in your child's sleep patterns, such as a lack of sleep or extreme fatigue even after getting adequate rest. These symptoms along with constant weariness, headaches and tingling feelings tend to precede a seizure.

Mental and Emotional Characteristics

Observe any prolonged periods of unresponsiveness in your child, including her staring off and not responding to your voice. This may be the evidence os a "silent seizure," an expression of epilepsy that is characterized by brief lapses in awareness.

Track any confusion in your child that seems to indicate she isn't aware of what's happening around her. Children with epilepsy may become fixated on something to the point that they lose track of what's taking place in their surroundings or who they're with.

Ask your child why she's afraid if she tends to hide or cower without any source you can identify. Kids may feel overwhelmed by what's happening in their unconscious mind and presume there's a conscious threat they have to escape.

Investigate any tension you hear your child is happening with other people. Around one in four children with epilepsy has behavior or emotional problems that cause them to act out, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

Items you will need
  •  Journal


  • Get your child tested for epilepsy if you suspect she may have it, especially if the disorder is a part of your family history.


  • Keep your child within your line of sight when driving so you can observe and care for them in the event of a seizure.
  • Watch your child more often when she has a fever since some young children experience convulsions known as a "febrile seizure."

About the Author

Tony Myles is a pastor and national speaker on youth culture. He has been writing professionally since 2000, has a weekly health and fitness newspaper column in the Cleveland suburbs, reviews for "YouthWorker Journal" and was a featured reporter for the "Kalamazoo Gazette." He holds a Master of Business Administration in adolescent development from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Photo Credits

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