Raising a child is an amazing and endlessly rewarding experience. But as all parents know, it’s not without challenges. Even more challenging is when you discover that your child may have a neurological or developmental disorder or condition such as epilepsy.
Epilepsy affects more than 2 million people nationwide, and many of them are children and teenagers. Its main characteristic is the presence of frequent seizures which can range from mild to extremely debilitating.
Dr. Aaron Cardon is one of Child Neurology Consultants of Austin’s board-certified pediatric epileptologists. He recently offered advice for an article on HealthCentral about raising children with epilepsy, lending his expertise to the subject of sleep.
Here’s what he had to say about making sure epileptic children get enough sleep — as those who don’t could be at a higher risk for seizures:
“One of the most common sleep issues I see is primary insomnia: trouble falling asleep,” says Dr. Cardon. “Power down screens one to two hours before bed and be stringent about bedtime. A surprising tip: Don’t allow playing, doing homework, or even reading in bed.”
“Keeping the bed strictly for sleep can break a lot of primary insomnia problems,” he adds. “If your kid has trouble staying asleep—another common issue—talk to your doc about a low-dose of melatonin.”
Other helpful tips appearing in the article on parenting children with epilepsy are:
1. Be selective about your doctor, make that sure you and your child have a good rapport with him or her.
2. Keep a seizure log so that you can try and detect patterns as to when they occur.
3. Have a seizure response plan and make sure that all those who are in close contact with your child know about it…teachers, coaches, sitters/nannies, other family members and neighbors.
For additional information on helping your child or teenager sleep right now with the stresses of the current COVID-19 situation, check out our recent blog on sleep tips during uncertain times.
In addition to epilepsy, Child Neurology Consultants of Austin also has experience treating a wide range of other neurological and rheumatic disorders in children from 0 to 21 years old.
For an appointment with one of our specialists and to learn about our current telehealth services, please visit us here.