17 . What about kindergarten and school ?

Regarding schooling, all the countries are not equal. It will depend on local regulation. Some countries are well endowed with specialised educational services.

Usually, kindergarten and mainstream school is the way to start. Children with Dravet syndrome will benefit from school by socialising with other children and varying their relationships with caregivers. They also take advantage of the activities that other children of the same age enjoy at school. They can also acquire autonomy. However, there are a number of issues that should be discussed:

  • It is essential to provide an emergency plan to manage seizures according to your national regulations. Training sessions with the teachers and liaison with local ambulance services or local medical care centres can be useful.
  • Knowing that seizures can be precipitated by fever and other temperature changes means that school workers will have to learn how to manage the following situations: when to give fever-treating drugs, how to dress the child, what to do when taking the child out when it is very cold or very hot, keeping the classrooms at an appropriate temperature, etc.
  • A personal helper is needed to supervise and support learning, toileting, meals, etc.
  • Speech therapy and physiotherapy are often required. They should be included in school-time in order to avoid a too long, exhausting day. When not available at school you may arrange it outside.

It is important to define the same educative rules at home and at school.

Developmental objective examination will help to plan each academic step. Depending on the country, it can be carried in school or out by the local social services, or by an external provider or even by an epilepsy multidisciplinary team.

After a few years of mainstream school, the need of dedicated help becomes evident. Some countries provide special education in specific classrooms for those located in a mainstream school, so children can share activities. In other instances, special education is delivered in specific centres. Children and young adults with Dravet syndrome greatly benefit from this type of education since professional teachers, psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and sometimes nurses and even doctors look after them.

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