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Education and work


A range of issues which may affect children with epilepsy in education


A list of everything in this section, a general introduction, some specific information on looking for work, and also on dealing with epilepsy in the workplace. Also how to get help with transport to work.

Comments: read the 11 comments or add yours


Over the last 2 months or so I've had about 7 seizures and I am a full time college student and its affected me as I have now been told that I cant go back to my placement in a pre-school as they have to do risk assessments and that I know this is probably going to affect me getting a job next year I would appreciate your advice thank you

Submitted by Rebecca Unthank on

Hi Rebecca

That’s a lot of seizures to have. I hope you’re getting some good support from your neurologist.. The pre-school will certainly need to do a risk assessment. I have linked you to the sorts of questions they will need to ask. The important thing is that they find out about your epilepsy and not about epilepsy in general. Once they have identified risks they need to see if there are any reasonable adjustments they could make.

A risk assessment is only valid for the time at which it is done. There is every possibility that you will get better seizure control over time. In this situation the risk assessment could show little or nothing to have to make an adjustment for.

I am guessing that you would really like to work with young children. So it’s likely to be disappointing if you’re not to be able to do this.

But I do think it could be useful for you think about your possible career choices. Certainly if you continue to have seizures, working with very young children could pose some problems and make it more difficult for you to get a job. It might be worth having some other ideas about a career too.

I really hope it works out for you.

Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry, Epileps... on

Ok yes thank you and I am going to speak to my neurologist and possibly re think about a different career if it doesn't get better I'm only 17 so I still have time to rethink about it all

This has helped alot thank you

Submitted by Rebecca Unthank on

Hello, I am currently experiencing a stressful situation at work . Until recently I always worked early shifts at work. Last year I had to change my availabilty which I was told would mean i'd end up working some lates , I had no issue with working some lates , however I told my manager that I wasn't prepared to work an early shift following a late shift , my concerns being that not getting enough sleep has been a trigger with me to have siezures in the past. I didn't go into details with my manager as to my reasons, I didn't feel I needed to since I am entitled to insist on 11 hours break between shifts by law anyway. Since then My manager only rotas me to work late shifts. I have told him i'm really not happy with having to work all the late shifts and felt it wasn't fair. He pretty much said tough,if i'm not prepared to work an early shift following a late shift then i'll have to do all late shifts , and if i'm not happy with it, get another job!

Submitted by carol on

Hi Carol
That doesn’t sound like the outcome you were looking for. I can’t quite tell whether you have told your employer you have epilepsy. If you haven’t, it would be a good idea to do so now. This is because they would then need to do a risk assessment and consider any reasonable adjustments.

Not doing a combination of shifts which would limit your sleep is certainly a reasonable adjustment. But doing only late shifts would not involve a risk and is more about preference if I understand you correctly.

Because of this, I’m not sure whether you have any grounds for challenging this. To check this out you could either contact ACAS the employment helpline or the Equality Advisory Support Service, who can advise you whether you are being discriminated against. I do hope you are able to come to a better agreement.

Advice and Information Team


Submitted by Cherry, Epileps... on

Hi i did a degree in physics for new technology. Before i began my epilepsy was under control but when i started university it drastically got worse. I tried to carry on and swapped medication hoping for improvement but i was having seizures every other week and getting memory loss. I applied for mitigating circumstances but i only got a third. I have finally found a medication two years after university that has completely stopped all my seizures. But it has left me stuck i cant purse a career related to my degree due to my grade and im struggling to find an option that would allow me to continues my degree without perhaps do a master without starting again. Im academically very talent having a scholarship at my secondary school however now i dont know what to do? If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated im very much stuck in a hole i cant get out of .

Submitted by Matt on

Hi Matt

Thanks for your message. It must be very frustrating to find that you can’t pursue your chosen career because of your degree results. If you want to go back to university, the Disabled Students Helpline may be able to give you advice about your options.

You might find our information about looking for work useful. I don’t know what the entry requirements are for your chosen field, but you may find that some employers are more flexible about grades than others. It’s worth looking out for jobs with the ‘two ticks’ symbol on the advert. This shows that the employer is committed to employing disabled people. If a job advert displays the symbol, you will be guaranteed an interview, as long as you meet the essential conditions for the job.

Best wishes

Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Grace, Epilepsy... on

Hi, I understand that prospective employers cannot discriminate against you if you are fortunate enough to have been given an interview to an application for a job. What form of redress do you have though, if like myself, you have been off work for 4 years due to your Epilepsy and they ask why you have been unemployed...You don't have to tell them of your illness but if you don't what was your reasoning for unemployment. When they say "There were stronger candidates" there is no answer to that...Thanks.

Submitted by Amanda Wilson on

Hi, my daughter started with epilepsy in June 2012, she was just 15. She had seizures ranging from absences to full tonic clonic seizures. She had over 130 seizures in the first year trying different medication to control them finally getting her on lamotrigine which seemed to stop them straight away once in her system. She is on 200 mg a day now. She occasionally gets jerks but not very often. My worry is that she gets extremely tired and if not at college she is in bed listening to her iPod. She has had 8 jobs part- time but they never keep her on lasting only a week or two. She is a lot slower now and cannot do things quickly. If she has a day out or night out it takes a lot out of her and sleeps all the next day and night nearly. Is this a symptom of the epilepsy or the medication? She is going to university in September and we worry how she will cope. She also doesn't have a very good memory and needs constant reminding just to take her medication . When we go to the doctors and explain they just seem to say let's not rock the boat as she is now controlled, as she must have cost the NHS a fortune in ambulances at first. She just wants to be like everybody else so doesn't ask for any help. We are concerned for her future and wonder will she ever work! Does any other people have this problem.
Many thanks

Submitted by Tracy Newton on

Hi Tracy
Thanks for your message. It sounds like your daughter has been through a very tough time. It’s good that her seizures are under control now, but it must be really hard to see her so tired.

Tiredness can be a side effect of lamotrigine but feeling very tired can also be a sign of problems like anaemia, so it would be a good idea for your daughter to see her GP to check her general health. Insomnia is also a common side effect of lamotrigine, so could your daughter be having trouble sleeping at night, and this is making her tired during the day?

Memory problems are common in people with epilepsy. Sometimes it can be because of the epilepsy itself, and sometimes it can be a side effect of the medicine. You might find our information about epilepsy and memory helpful. It includes tips for coping with memory problems.

Your daughter should be entitled to support at university. If she contacts the disability advisor at the university they will be able to talk to her about making adjustments to help. This could include things like arranging equipment to record lectures or helping her to catch up if she misses anything. She should also be entitled to Disabled Students Allowance. You may find our advice for students with epilepsy.

Getting the balance right between controlling seizures and having fewer side effects can be really difficult. It’s understandable that the doctors don’t want to change her medicine if it’s working well to control her seizures. But if side effects are having a negative impact on her life they should take this into account too. She could ask for a treatment review to see if any changes can be made.

I hope this helps and that things improve for your daughter soon. If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact  the Epilepsy Action Helpline.

Best wishes
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Grace, Epilepsy... on

Hi, I have been diagnosed with Epilepsy for nearly 20 years now. If i am honest i buried my head in the sand and always tried to ignore it and act like it wasn't a problem. I persued jobs that i really wanted to do, which at the time i thought would be ok but looking back they were very silly decisions and very unsafe for me due to the abcence seizures i was having dailey. After many years of not knowing what to do or where to turn i still have a job which is proberly unsafe for me. But with no experience in office based roles etc i have been getting no where when applying. I feel like i have hit a brick wall. I have a wonderful partner who helps and looks after me when my seizures happen dailey. I have a house and a 6 year old boy so me having a job is essential!! I have changed medication 3 times now but still having up to 4 absence seizures a day. I need to change career but need to return to college maybe to get the relevent qualifications needed for a office based role. I wouldn't know where to start looking or what to do..... as i still need an income for myself and family! I want to work but i have always had manual handling roles and i know 100% if i told my employer about my condition i would lose my job due to health and safety. I really would appriciate if you could advise me what i could do or go!!!
Many thanks

Submitted by Colin on