Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Radio gets involved in informative session on Epilepsy

A radio personality noted for playing oldies, perhaps, inspired a younger audience in Vilonia this week.

Don't be afraid. Instead, be a friend to someone with epilepsy is the message that radio personality John Lee of K106.3, was teaching kindergarten classes at Vilonia Elementary School Friday in observance of Epilepsy Awareness Day.

"If someone has seizures we call it epilepsy," Lee told kindergartners. "It's not a disease. It's not something you can catch like a cold. The best thing to do for them is to be a friend."

The pint-sized participants, listened tentatively as Lee encouraged them to not be afraid of a class mate should they see one appearing like " a fish on a dock flopping around." Instead, he encouraged them to watch for warning signs as well as to react responsibly.

"Make sure you get things out of the way so they don't hurt themselves," he said. "Put something under their head such as a sweater or your arm."

Seizures, he told the students, are muscles tightening and loosening.

"If you are the buddy, don't panic," Lee said. "Remember it's just a seizure. Don't try to hold them down. It shouldn't last but a few seconds or at the most a few minutes."

He told the students when their buddy ceases seizing they might be confused.

"Tell them they were seizing and everything is cool," Lee offered. Should a seizure last more than five minutes, Lee told the children that their teacher or an adult would need to call 911. But, for anyone seizing less than five minutes there was no need to call.

"Just make them comfortable," he said. He also described some other symptoms of epilepsy including looking off into space.

Kids with epilepsy, Lee said, take medications that should result in the seizures to "well, kind of going to sleep."

Lee allowed the children to ask questions which he attempted to answer on their level. One youngster said she had suffered a seizure once. Having one seizure, Lee told the children, does not constitute epilepsy.

Lee told the children that he knows a lot about epilepsy because his son, Robby, has epilepsy. Lee said his son had his first seizure at age seven in a classroom. At one point, Lee said, he was having 65 episodes per day. Several surgeries and medical procedures as well as medicines later, Lee said, now his son is in a regular school in the seventh grade.

"Everything seems to be good," Lee shared.

Although many of the youngsters appeared to have a little difficulty pronouncing the word exactly right, most pledged to be friends to people with "epilexy."

Lee also entertained the children by singing "You've Got a Friend in Me," from Toy Story while playing a ukulele. The children returned the favor by singing "Happy Birthday," to him.

In addition, other educational activities involving Epilepsy Awareness Day were being conducted on other campuses in the Vilonia School District.


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