Associação Brasileira de Epilepsia, Brazil
Project: Epilepsy at School: Teaching the Teachers
The Associação Brasileira de Epilepsia (ABE) was founded in 1987 by Prof. Esper Cavalheiro. Since then its multidisciplinary group of professionals has been involved in providing information to lay persons throughout Brazil. ABE was accepted as the Brazilian chapter of IBE in 1991.
ABE is a non-profit association mainly interested in divulging information on epilepsy as well as promoting the improvement in quality of life of people with epilepsy. ABE membership is composed of people with epilepsy and their relatives, physicians, neuroscientists and other professionals allied to medicine. ABE has 6 regional chapters in Brazil besides the central office in São Paulo.
Mission of Associação Brasileira de Epilepsia
- To promote the general understanding of the epilepsies;
- To divulge social and medical knowledge about the epilepsies;
- To divulge knowledge to lay people in order to reduce stigma and prejudice;
- To organize self-steam groups and to promote occupational rehabilitation;
- To fight for the regular supply of antiepileptic drugs in primary care facilities.
Promising Strategy of Associação Brasileira de Epilepsia
Brazil is a Portuguese speaking country and a member of the recognized international entity group called “Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa CPLP, which has eight member States, 4 of them with a gross national income of less than US$1,000, and 3 less than US$5,000, based in four continents, with a land surface of more than 10 million km2 and a total population of over 220 million people. Brazil is the biggest country in Latin America with 188 million habitants, 41 million of these living in Sao Paulo State, which has the highest school attendance in the country. São Paulo State receives people from all other regions of Brazil, as well as, from other Latin American neighboring countries. Sao Paulo State Administration operates 5,300 public schools.
ABE has noticed that children with epilepsy suffer prejudice at school and this fact is responsible for much of the stigma in adult life. Teachers knowledge about epilepsy can have a direct impact on students regarding school and social achievements and, consequently, employment and networking links in adult life. Despite this important role of the educator, little research is done in this field throughout the world, especially with intervention programs. Most of the studies refer to insufficient training of the teachers about epilepsy, as well as potentially prejudicial concepts about the condition. Teachers play a fundamental role in order to accept diversity and to fight against discrimination, and as they are not well informed and trained regarding epilepsy, we propose an intervention program in public elementary schools in Sao Paulo State, called Epilepsy at School: Teaching the Teachers.
The purpose of the program Epilepsy at School: Teaching the Teachers is a teaching model about epilepsy for other States in Brazil, in order to promote basic education about epilepsy directed at the biggest group of elementary school teachers in Latin America, as well as in Portuguese speaking countries. The program Epilepsy at School: Teaching the Teachers will be developed in two steps:
1. Production of a CD about Epilepsy directed at Elementary School Teachers
The CD will contain simple didactic visual and audio resources concerning the following information about epilepsy: 1) basic aspects of brain anatomy; 2) definition of epilepsy; 3) causes; 4) epidemiology; 5) diagnosis; 6) treatment; 7) first-aid during a seizure; 8) psychological and social consequences; 9) wrong mythos in epilepsy; 10) world-wide ILAE/IBE/WHO Global Campaign Against Epilepsy Out of the Shadows.
2. Introduction of the Intervention program for São Paulo State
The CD will be distributed to all elementary schools directors of Sao Paulo state in order to show teachers locally how to get to know and understand epilepsy and its consequences. All schools in São Paulo State have at least one computer. Afterwards there will be videoconferences periodically with the supervisors of these teachers.
Assessment of the Effectiveness of the Program
A questionnaire about epilepsy will be applied before and after the introduction of the CD. It will contain questions regarding concepts, treatment and social consequences of epilepsy. The schools with the best questionnaire grades will be honored as ambassadors of the Associação Brasileira de Epilepsia.