CHILDREN, YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT SERVICES
More than half of all newly-diagnosed patients with epilepsy are children under the age of 10. Epilepsy in childhood might mean that the child’s seizures lead to absences from school, the side effects from their anti-seizure medications may disturb a child’s day-to-day routine and/or safety issues lead parents to become overly protective, resulting in isolation from other children. With the diagnosis of epilepsy in a child, Epilepsy Toronto is often the first place a parent turns to for information, education and support.
The Children and Youth Department recognizes parents of a child with epilepsy have many concerns and aim to support and empower your family as you manage your child’s epilepsy. Our goal is to provide services that are client-centred, while supporting your family as a whole; recognizing that epilepsy does not only affect the individual with epilepsy, but the quality of life for you, your child and your entire family. We provide our services in an accepting, empathetic and non-judgmental environment and embrace the individuality that epilepsy has on each and every family. If you require support, at any time, please reach out, even to just say hello!
If you’d like to be added to our monthly Parent Support Network Newsletter, please email Katie@epilepsytoronto.org
CHILD, CAREGIVER AND FAMILY COUNSELLING SERVICES
The development of epilepsy in a child of any age can be a frightening experience for the whole family. Parents/Caregivers are key figures in how children acknowledge their epilepsy and their reaction to the diagnosis will influence how the child sees themselves. Families may feel lost, overwhelmed, frustrated, exhausted and more throughout any stage of the diagnosis period, and need support managing their feelings, thoughts and emotions.
Our Director of Child and Youth Services can provide counselling to parents, the child or youth on a variety of issues surrounding epilepsy and the impact of seizures – physically, emotionally, and socially. Some of the issues we help our members address are (but are not limited to);
- Psychoeducation for Epilepsy
- Parenting for a child with a health condition
- Dealing with stigma
- Developing coping skills
- Goal setting
- Helping clients navigate the health care system
- Helping clients navigate the school system and knowing your child’ educational rights
Our counselors are professionally trained at Masters Level and are members of their respective colleges. Various counselling approaches are used in an effort to deliver person-centred support. To begin the counselling journey, we will conduct an intake to learn more about you and your epilepsy story, and then will recommend further services to best meet your individual needs.
EDUCATION AND EPILEPSY
Our counselor works with parents to navigate the education system by involving parents, schools and supporting agencies, ensuring that appropriate accommodations are made for the child. We want to make sure every child enjoys learning and sees school as a positive experience. Some of the school based/education issues we address (but are not limited to);
- Staff Epilepsy and Seizure First Aid Workshops
- Student based workshops (age appropriate curriculum)
- Support around school based documentation and meetings
- Individual Education Plans (IEP’s)
- Identification, Placement, Review Committee (IPRC)
- Case Conference Meetings
- Individualized Seizure Protocols
Families with epilepsy often express feelings of isolation and often they don’t know many (or any) other people with epilepsy. Our groups provide individuals with a shared sense of support and connection. We provide a safe and understanding space, with individuals to have the opportunity to talk about their issues, connect with others who are going through similar situations and share their resources and experiences they have learned along the way.
Within the Children and Youth Department we currently have the following support groups;
- Parent Support Group
- For Parents and Caregivers with children or youth with epilepsy
- Young Adults Support Group
- For those ages 18 to 30 living with epilepsy
To join any of our Support Groups you first need to have an intake session with one of our counsellors.
An online support and inspirational site, for youth to be empowered, encouraged, and educated. A support system by those affected by epilepsy themselves, with the main goal of changing the image of people coping with epilepsy, inspiring others going through the journey of epilepsy and demonstrating how young adults have overcome their personal struggles and have become successful in their own, individual way.
In an effort to continue providing opportunities for families to connect and engage, the Children and Youth Department hosts Weekend Retreats, annually. Our retreats are a great opportunity for families and individuals to build connections in a supportive, fun environment, while learning strategies and resources from other members and health care professionals. From a winter wonderland escape, to embracing nature while outdoor camping, Epilepsy Toronto’s retreats, bring a sense of understanding, encouragement and belonging to those in attendance.
If you are interested in receiving services at Epilepsy Toronto, please contact our office at 416-964-9095 and ask to speak to an intake worker.