Youths with epilepsy
In part of the children with epilepsy the seizures are hard to control during puberty. Youths are confronted with many changes and questions: the transition from school to a follow-up study or work, detachment from family, entering into friendships and relationships, going out, smoking and drinking, sexuality and contraceptives. Epilepsy can raise extra questions about the ability to drive, the risks of living independently, dealing with seizures in a work situation, or the influence of epilepsy or medication on a wish to have children.
During childhood a broadly oriented team is ready to help the child and its parents. Bringing in various specialists is the obvious thing to do. But with adults, this is less obvious. The youth becomes the point of contact for the doctor and responsible for his treatment. Insufficient preparation for this transition can impair youths with epilepsy in finding their way in society. The so-called transition team of Kempenhaeghe helps young adults and their parents in clarifying questions, wishes and possibilities for the future.
In addition to analyzing the epilepsy, other subjects of study and advice include the youths’ possibilities in the fields of independence, relations, living, learning and working. The youth has three meetings in half a day with a neurologist and psychologist, with a social worker and with an educationalist. Thus, a critical check is done in conclusion of the youth’s childhood at the start of his young adult life. The advice of the transition team is tailor-made. If necessary, a short individual coaching trajectory will take place at Kempenhaeghe, aimed at work, training or study, or career choice.
To support the independence and autonomy of youths with epilepsy, the Epilepsy Growth indicator was developed. This is a discussion tool for children, youths and their parents. See www.opeigenbenen.nu (in Dutch only).