Academic achievement, measured by school-administered group tests, child attitudes and self-concept, and teachers rated school adaptive functioning were compared in 117 children with epilepsy and 108 with asthma, ages 8 to 12 years, and data were analyzed at the Indiana University Schools of Nursing, Education, and Medicine, Indianapolis. Children with epilepsy had significantly lower achievement scores, and boys with severe epilepsy were most at risk. Negative attitudes towards the illness and poor self-esteem, and lower school adaptive functioning scores were also related to poor academic achievement. [1]

COMMENT. Children with epilepsy and especially boys with severe epilepsy are at risk of academic underachievement. Deficiences of neuropsychological function, particularly language skills and attention, have been reported in children with epilepsy. Reduced parental expectations for academic achievement in children with epilepsy lead to impaired school performance. Parent, teacher, and child counseling are essential adjuncts to AED therapy in the management of epilepsy in children. Some local branches of the Epilepsy Foundation of America have volunteer board members who give short talks on epilepsy in grade schools. An increased understanding of epilepsy among school children and peers leads to a heightened self concept of patients.