Seizures in Children | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are seizures diagnosed?

If your child is having seizures, a proper diagnosis relies strongly on your observations of your child’s symptoms. When you meet with a neurologist, you’ll want to be prepared to describe the following:

  • What time did the seizure start and stop? (Time it with a watch, if possible.)
  • Where in the body did the seizures start? (Hands, arms, legs, eyes?)
  • Did the seizure stay in that part of the body or did it move to other areas?
  • What type of movement did you see? (Jerking, twitching, stiffness?)
  • Is there anything that might have triggered your child’s seizure?
  • Did your child experience anything unusual before the seizure started?
  • Has there been a change in how often seizures happen or in the type of seizure activity?

Your medical team will first try to distinguish between true seizures and other problems that can look like seizures, such as stroke, fainting, and movement disorders. If your child is indeed having seizures, the next step is to determine where in the brain the seizures are coming from and whether the seizures represent epilepsy or some other disorder. Your child’s physician will use a variety of tests to evaluate seizures, including:

Many of these tests can be performed in an outpatient clinic. You may also be offered testing for problems that may accompany seizures, such as learning or behavior difficulties or depression. This may include specialized testing to monitor your child’s cognitive abilities, learning, behavior, emotional well-being and social function.

What are the treatment options for seizures?

If your child is experiencing seizures that are triggered by another disease or injury, specialists experienced in treating that condition will work closely with epilepsy and seizure specialists to provide the best possible care for your child.

An important part of caring for your child is treating not only the seizures themselves, but any complications they may cause. For example, neuropsychologists use specialized testing to monitor your child's cognitive abilities, learning, behavior, emotional well-being, and social function, in order to develop strategies that will help your child function at their highest possible level.