Helping Children and Their Families Understand Epilepsy
When a child is diagnosed with an illness, it affects every member of his family. That’s why the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Epilepsy Center offers support groups for both parents and children who are learning about and experiencing epilepsy.
There are three separate support group meetings on each scheduled night:
- A parent education group for parents and caregivers.
- A children’s group for children with seizures.
- A teen group for teens with seizures and teen siblings.
Parent and Caregiver Support Group
The group provides participants with information, education, resource sharing opportunities, emotional support and a chance to talk with other parents and caregivers. This group is facilitated by Heather Bernard, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, providing family support, education, resources and assistance through the Goizueta Comprehensive Epilepsy Clinic. Heather works with the Goizueta grant team in developing innovative neuroscience education and care coordination partnerships with pediatricians and schools across the state of Georgia.
Children's Support Groups
The children’s groups are for ages 7 (mature 1st graders) through teenagers who are able to attend a peer discussion group independent of parents for an hour and a half.
The Children’s seizure support group is geared toward children learning to cope with their diagnosis in a social support format. The group offers a safe place for children to be open about issues, learn more about their diagnosis, discuss real life experiences, and most importantly, have fun and meet others. Siblings are also invited to attend the meeting.
Occasionally the two support groups will be divided based on age demographics to address specific issues for that age group. The Children’s support groups are facilitated by Neuropsychology Department residents and psychologists, and by our Child Life Specialist for the neurology inpatient unit. All Children’s support group facilitators are experienced in working with special needs families and children with chronic medical or neurological issues.