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Pupils with learning problems may have undiagnosed epilepsy

17 July, 2000

Child Psychiatry expert Dr Andrew Parkin, says that pupils with learning/behavioural difficulties, may be suffering from undiagnosed epilepsy, causing them to have periods when they are mentally ‘absent’.

Teachers may mistake this for daydreaming, and the child may become confused when the lesson moves on.

Dr Parkin, of Leicester University, presented his research at the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Edinburgh. He felt that having epilepsy does not mean the child will suffer poor social achievement unless they found things difficult to understand, when it could lead to ‘social consequences.’

This phenomenon affected more boys than girls, with episodes of behaviour affecting pupils in an on/off pattern, manifesting as bouts of ‘catastrophic rage.’ It is important that children having problems are seen by specialists within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.