Autism is a condition that affects one in every 100 people in the UK, and there are varying symptoms across the autism spectrum. Autism can cause speech and language problems, learning difficulties, or in some cases above average intelligence. The condition can have a significant impact on the sufferer and the lives of affected families.
Elaine Pearce, 36, cares for her five-year-old son, Ryan, who has autism, epilepsy and hypermobility of the joints. Ryan’s complex health conditions mean that he needs constant care and attention.
Andrew Jackson’s story is inspiring – not the 19th century US president, but a courageous epilepsy sufferer from Lincolnshire. Despite his condition, Andrew is a black belt in taekwondo, a fundraiser for Epilepsy Action and a proud father.
If you’re living with epilepsy or supporting someone who is, read on to find out how he does it.
Watching Out For The Warning Signs
Andrew, 39, developed epilepsy aged 2 years old after contracting measles. Over the years he’s learnt how to manage his condition, but it hasn’t been an easy journey. His seizures range from absences to multiple fits in a row without regaining consciousness – a condition known as status epilepticus.
“I’m one of six children and one of my brothers also has epilepsy. Another brother had childhood epilepsy but he stopped having seizures when he was about ten years old, so I think my family has a genetic predisposition to the condition.
“I take a variety of medications on a daily basis to deal with my epilepsy. I set an alarm to remind me, but I generally remember and have been self-medicating for years. My medication can have side effects such as making my hands shake, and one can make you very tired if it’s not taken at the same time each day.
As well as taking medication, recognising things that can bring on a seizure is important. Andrew knows that stress and extreme tiredness are triggers for him. Read more →
Managing health conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy is difficult at the best of times, but for people with restricted mobility it can present even more of a challenge. Using a wheelchair, hoist or stair lift means a fit can have dramatic effects on you and people around you.
Speak to your GP or health specialist to put together a care plan, including information about the best way for carers or other people to help you if you have a seizure. In this article, we outline some general first aid tips.
If someone you know has a seizure in a wheelchair, the most important thing to remember is to NOT restrict or restrain their movements. This can lead to an injury such as torn muscles, or in severe cases, broken bones.
Put the wheelchair’s brakes on to stop them moving, and if they’re buckled into a seatbelt or waist harness, leave it fastened. Other straps such as for arms, chest or legs should left undone to give them free movement. Read more →
To raise awareness, we spoke to Heather Johnson who’s battled with epilepsy for most of her life. Here in this exclusive interview she tells us how the condition hasn’t stopped her from conquering her goals.