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The University Star

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Breaking the stigma of epilepsy


Speaker Jessica Strom discusses Tonic-Clonic seizure emergencies Oct. 7 at the LBJ Student Center. Photo credit: Rebecca Harrell

The Texas State Office of Disability Services held the second epilepsy training Monday, Oct. 7.
The session was the third event ODS will host in the LBJ Student Center as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
This was the second time the Office of Disability Services has hosted an epilepsy training. The event was open to all students, faculty and staff; with barely any open seats in the meeting room again.
The trainingâ —provided by the Epilepsy Foundation of Central & South Texasâ —gave attendees information on epilepsy as well as thorough explanations of seizure types: generalized absence, generalized tonic-clonic, focal awareness and focal impaired-awareness seizures.
The event focused on ways to approach each type of seizure in regards to offering help. Speakers as well as corrected misconceptions of seizures.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Central & South Texas is a nonprofit agency providing education and training on epilepsy, seizure clinics, emergency medical assistance, counseling and support groups to those living with seizures and epilepsy.
From 2-4 p.m. students, faculty and staff were taught how to handle situations where a person is having a seizure, along with do’s and don’t’s. The training provided information on first aid, general information and facts about epilepsy.
Cara Vocale, criminal justice freshman, was one of the students who attended and said she learned more than anticipated.
“I just wanted to be a good citizen and friend to people who have to deal with epilepsy,” Vocale said. “I thought (seizures) were just on the ground convulsing, but there are so many other things that can happen and I had no idea. Not only do I know now, but I know how to deal with them.”
The epilepsy training was quickly brought to campus by the concern of a student after they encountered a peer having a seizure during class and no one knew how to react. ODS acted by providing epilepsy training and encouraging the Texas State community to attend.
Jessica Strom, programs manager for the Epilepsy Foundation of Central & South Texas, said she is eager to present to Texas State due to the unique way the organization was contacted.
“I really like presenting to college campuses and Texas State has been very responsive, whereas some other universities are more passive in their interactions regarding disability services,” Strom said. “We were contacted by a student from Texas State who witnessed another student having a seizure and thought more people needed to be aware of how to approach the issue. It’s nice to see that initiative in students.”
Strom said she especially appreciates the responsiveness of the Office of Disability Services as well as interaction and enthusiasm from attendees.
“The communication and enthusiasm between our office and the disability services have been fantastic,” Strom said. “The office has always wanted to make sure the services we provide are available to students.”
Gavin Steiger, Office of Disability Services director, attended the training and said he was proud of the partnership and outreach between ODS and the Epilepsy Foundation. Collaboration defines what disability services are about.
“This goes directly to the heart of what we are as an office try to do: provide education and awareness,” Steiger said. “If we can educate the campus community better on what seizures are, what they look like, how to respond to one—I think that will be beneficial to the campus community.”
For more information on the Office of Disability Services and upcoming National Disability Employment Awareness Month events on campus, check the ODS website at ods.txstate.edu.

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