The Teacher Awareness Program (TAP)
Information on this important educational initiative is supplied by Mrs Asma Enright, volunteer with the Epilepsy Support and Information Centre (ESIC), Saudi Arabia.
- To impart basic understanding about epilepsy as a common and treatable health issue.
- To facilitate seizure recognition and an appropriate response in the classroom.
- To promote better understanding of the unique needs of students with epilepsy.
- To encourage classroom integration and acceptance of students with epilepsy.
- To reduce the societal stigma and the discrimination surrounding epilepsy.
- To increase overall societal awareness, understanding and recognition of epilepsy.
The overall mission of the Epilepsy Support and Information Centre (ESIC) of Saudi Arabia is to promote increased awareness, understanding and social acceptance of epilepsy. To achieve this goal ESIC has initiated a variety of programs and publications that address Patient Education, Public Awareness and Epilepsy Training for Primary Health Care Professionals.
One such program, that has proven very successful, is the Teacher Awareness Program (TAP). Regularly organized Teacher Awareness Conferences target various groups of school administrators, teachers and students.
To facilitate this program, a series of standardized lectures and presentations have been developed that may be utilized by a variety of appropriate speakers to present the same basic material to different groups of educators and school administrators at all levels of the educational system.
The topics covered include basic medical information on epilepsy and seizures, Seizure First Aid, Epilepsy in the Classroom and the Teachers Role, Learning Disabilities, and the Effects of Medication on Learning. A brief film about epilepsy illustrating seizure first aid for varied seizure types is followed by an interactive seizure first aid demonstration.
The lectures are supplemented by the distribution of a School Reference Package to every Conference attendee. The package includes, a booklet entitled “Epilepsy and Education, the Role of the Teacher, a CD copy of the Seizure First Aid Film and a children’s story book about epilepsy.
Over the last two years, more than ten TAP conferences have been organized, many in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.
Although the majority of these conferences have been organized in the central region of Saudi Arabia, ESIC is currently planning to expand this program to include other areas of the country. Utilization of standardized materials, presentations and publications has significantly facilitated the expansion of the Teacher Awareness Program. ESIC hopes that eventually all ESIC publications and curriculum can be further utilized by Epilepsy Support Groups in other Arab speaking countries to establish similar successful programs.