A teenager who saw a fellow pupil subjected to cruel taunts after they had an epileptic fit in assembly has designed a booklet with Fixers to educate pupils and teachers about the condition.
Karis Charley wants people to know what to do when someone is having a fit because her four-year-old sister has epilepsy.
The 17-year-old, who lives in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, says: ‘When I was at secondary school I remember someone having an epileptic fit in assembly when a video with flashing images was played.
'It got around the school and the pupil didn’t come in for a week or two afterwards. When they did, some children thought it was funny to pretend to have a fit in front of them.
‘Kids can be cruel and I was scared of the same thing happening to my sister – I would hate to think of her being made fun of.'
Determined to make sure her sister Lydia wasn't affected in the same way, Karis has written about what epilepsy does and how to help a child before, during and after a seizure in her Fixers booklet.
Click on the picture below to view the booklet.
She says: ‘My sister has just started primary school. I was scared that teachers wouldn't know what to do if she had a seizure and she'd get hurt.
'I also worried that the other children wouldn't be accepting and it would affect her confidence growing up.'
Karis, who is studying A-levels at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, has provided practical advice on how teachers can help – such as seating her sister away from walls, shelves and other objects so she doesn’t hit her head if she has a seizure and falls over.
Although she hasn’t had a seizure at school yet and takes medication daily, Karis wants teachers to be able to spot the signs in case Lydia experiences either an absent or full seizure.
She says: ‘If my sister seems unfocused or unresponsive it can mean she’s having an absent seizure – they cause a person to lose awareness of their surroundings. Absent seizures can be followed by full seizures.’
Karis hopes that teachers will be more equipped to care for children with epilepsy after reading the booklet.
She says: ‘I hope teachers will feel more confident about supporting children with epilepsy after reading it, and pass on the information to their pupils.’
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.