We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

Children with epilepsy to lobby US congress

23 March, 2004

Children with epilepsy
and their families from across the United States will converge on
Washington DC this week to lobby their Senate and
House representatives for better services for children with the condition.

The main message
of the 40 children, who range in age from seven to 16, is that Congress
can help secure a better future for them by assuring
access to employment, to federally funded assistance programmes and
services, to public accommodations and to basic rights which are
now being threatened by erosion of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA). Families will call for support of measures to restore civil rights
protections weakened by federal and state court decisions that question
whether epilepsy is a disability, and therefore, whether it is covered
under the ADA at all.

The visits with congressional representatives are part of the Epilepsy
Foundation of America's (EFA) 'Kids
Speak Up
' programme, a campaign to
help children with epilepsy and their families make their voices heard
in the halls of Congress. Tony Coelho, chair-elect of the board of directors
of the EFA said:

"'Kids Speak
Up' amplifies the voices of children with epilepsy so they can be heard
in the halls
of Congress. It gives congressional
leaders a better understanding of the real struggles children have in
dealing with epilepsy. And, most importantly, the programme gives these
children a chance to play a role in creating a brighter future for themselves."