Accommodation Tips to Support Job Seekers with Epilepsy, Their Caregivers & Spouses in the Workplace


>>SARAH PULLANO: Thank you, everybody, for
joining. It’s 2:00 Eastern Standard Time. So we’ll get started. My name is Sarah Pullano. I’m a Senior Account Manager with Getting
Hired. I will be your host for today’s event Accommodation
Tips to Support Job Seekers with epilepsy, Their Caregivers and Spouses in the Workforce
presented by Tom Buckley, Saundra Lynch Ervin and Saran Martin. Today’s session is scheduled for one hour
from 2 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Though, I anticipate it will not take a full
hour. We are recording the session, and we’ll send
a link to that recording instead of sending out the presentation deck. Feel free to ask any questions or provide
comments through the chat box at any time. There should be a drop down box at the top
of the screen. We will follow up with you after the webinar
if we weren’t able to answer your questions at the end of the presentation. Everyone’s line is automatically placed on
mute. So, again, please feel free to ask any questions
that you have through the chat box. And live captioning is being provided. I will send the link to this through the chat
box. If you have any other questions, please let
me know. But at this time I will turn it over to Epilepsy
Foundation.>>SARAN MARTIN: Thank you, Sarah. My name is Saran Martin. On behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation my colleagues
and I would like to thank you for joining our presentation. Accommodation tips to support job seekers
with epilepsy, their caregivers and spouses in the workforce. November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. We are very excited to share with you information
on the spectrum of epilepsy and misperceptions about seizures, the top accommodations for
epilepsy in the workplace, including the low cost for employers and tips to attract, hire
and drive inclusion of individuals with epilepsy in your workplace. What is epilepsy? Let’s start at the beginning and review what
the terms seizures and epilepsy mean. A seizure is a symptom of a disturbance in
the electrical activity of the brain. It is a symptom of another problem. The term epilepsy is used to describe a disease
of the brain. Epilepsy is characterized by the tendency
to have recurrent, unprovoked seizures. So a few of these terms may need clarification. Recurrent means that a person has had two
or more seizures and is likely to have more. If a person has had only one seizure and there
is no clear indication or risk for another, the person would likely not be diagnosed with
epilepsy yet. However, once the person has had a second
seizure, the term epilepsy would apply. So the definition of epilepsy has been clarified
in recent years by the international league against epilepsy. Two or more unprovoked seizures more than
one day apart is a typical definition. However, sometimes the risk of having another
seizure is high enough to warrant diagnosing epilepsy and starting seizure medication after
the first seizure. High risk is assumed when there is a greater
than 60 percent chance of a person having another seizure. And the term epilepsy and seizure disorder
are used interchangeably. It’s extremely important that we use the correct
terminology when talking about a person with epilepsy. For example, we no longer use the term epileptic
but instead we use the phrase person with epilepsy. We no longer use terms such as fits and spells
to describe a seizure. We just use the term seizure. So there are many prevalent misconceptions
about epilepsy. Here are just some of the facts that you really
should know. Epilepsy is much more common than you think. The prevalence of epilepsy or how many people
have epilepsy in any given year or point in time is about 3.4 million. This number provided from data from the CDC
on surveys that they gave to individuals who self reported who were having active epilepsy. More recent data is giving higher numbers
but this includes people with a history of epilepsy or active epilepsy. I think one of the most important statistics
is that 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. So it’s important to understand the difference
between provoked and unprovoked seizures. So pro joked means that the seizures were
caused by another health problem. And when that health problem was treated,
the person is no longer susceptible to recurring seizures or epilepsy. However, keep in mind that people may have
seizures that are provoked acutely, that go away, but then they might develop unprovoked
seizures at a later date. There are various factors that may provoke
seizures. Sometimes it could be a high fever, maybe
drug use, maybe a head injury, dehydration or hyper hydration. Sometimes complications from diabetes or pregnancy
or other acute, medical illnesses can provoke a seizure. For 70 percent of people with epilepsy, the
cause is unknown. While the remaining 30 percent have common
identifiable causes such as brain injury at birth, maybe a past injury or trauma or stroke,
infections of the brain such as meningitis. So you have different factors that can impact
people with seizures. Sometimes the seizures themselves or medication
and the side effects of those medications or if sometimes underlying brain abnormalities
can all impact how a person with epilepsy, how they learn, their behavior, and their
self concept just to name a few. We do have various seizure triggers. So a person’s environment or their activities
may need to be modified to reduce exposure to situations that can trigger a seizure. The number one reason why seizures are triggered
will be miss or late medication. Sometimes lack of sleep or fatigue, stress
or anxiety, illness. There’s a host of different triggers that
can trigger a person’s seizure. Sometimes you want to be able to modify the
person’s situation and also a safety evaluation can help determine any changes that might
need to be made. Sometimes you need to consider flashing lights
that occur in movies or television or even computer screens, all of which can possibly
trigger a seizure in a person. So this particular slide really touches on
some of the misperceptions associated with seizures. Most importantly, most seizures are not medical
emergencies. Oftentimes when a person is having a seizure
if they’re not aware that the seizure is even taking place and they oftentimes do not remember
what happened after a seizure is over. Epilepsy is not contagious, but it definitely
is a medical illness just like asthma or diabetes. It is rare for a person who die during a seizure. But most importantly a person cannot swallow
his or her tongue during a seizure. And I know that is one misperception that
has been very long standing. So you never want to put anything in the mouth
of a person when they’re having an active seizure. Seizures can be classified as a generalized
seizure, focal seizure or sometimes the onset is unknown. Generalized seizures begin in both sides of
the brain. And the loss of consciousness is assumed. With a focal seizure it begins in one part
or one side of the brain. Consciousness may or may not be affected. And sometimes the focal seizure can spread
to a generalized seizure. So the focal seizure whether it’s aware and
unaware are the most common time types of seizures and they account for nearly three
out of four seizures that occur. With generalized seizures, sometimes someone’s
motor skills might be affected. And you will see the most common type that
most people recognize when someone is having a seizure would be what we call a tonic clonic
seizure. The stiffening of the body. The body has jerking movements. It’s really clear that someone is having a
seizure. And that’s the one most people think about
when they think of having a seizure. Sometimes the motor skills are not affected. It might look like the person is daydreaming. On the other side you have the focal seizures
that are based on whether the person is conscious or not, whether there’s movement or not. There’s a lot of different classifications
that we just wanted to make you aware of what they are. Sometimes a seizure may appear someone will
suddenly cry out and they will fall. We talked about the stiffening of limbs, convulsive
movements. The person might be confused, tired or have
a headache afterwards. That is known as a generalized tonic clonic
seizure. Or, just like I said, a seizure can be blank
staring or other repetitive movements, unable to talk. That is known as a focal seizure with impaired
awareness. Sometimes a focal onset seizure might be mistaken
for the person appearing drunk or having used illegal drugs or having some signs of mental
illness or even a medical condition like a stroke or a diabetic reaction. Those symptoms actually also are focal onset
seizures so sometimes they are mistaken. A person having a focal seizure with impaired
awareness, they are not going to be just like the title of the seizure indicates, they’re
not going to be aware of their surroundings. They’re not going to be able to control their
body movements. They’re not going to be able to answer any
questions. This is really important to consider. Some individuals who are having seizures know
that the seizure’s about to happen. That’s called having an aura. There’s a sign the seizure is about to occur
and it may include an odd taste or smell or feeling of fear or even a tingling sensation. So this slide reviews basic first aid for
all seizure types that we call care and comfort. Again, most seizures are not medical emergencies
and care and comfort measures are all that is needed. So it’s really important you stay with the
person and you start timing the seizure. You remain calm and you check for medical
ID. Keep the person safe. Move or guide away from harmful objects. Turn the person on to their side. If they are not awake and aware. Don’t block the airway. Put something small and soft under their head. Loosen any tight clothes around their neck. Also, again, do not put anything in their
mouth. Don’t give the person water, pills or food
until the person is awake. Absolutely do not restrain them. Stay with them until they are awake and alert
after the seizure. Most seizures will end in a few minutes. So even though we said that most seizures
are not medical emergencies and do not require transport to an emergency room, it is important
to note when you should call 911. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes. If the person is having repeated seizures,
if the person is having difficulty breathing, if the seizure occurs in the water, if the
person is injured, pregnant or sick, if the person does not return to their usual state,
and if it is their first time having a seizure. Now I’m going to turn it over to my colleague
Tom Buckley who is going go over accommodations for epilepsy in the workplace.>>SARAH PULLANO: Saran I just wanted to chime
in real quick. And call out a couple items and just add on
to some of that great content you read and get your opinion on something. In addition to all the seizure first aid tips,
one other thing that I wanted to advise, and this is just from personal experience, so
for me for those of you on the line who don’t know me, I have a family member who has epilepsy
so I am a caregiver to that family member. And it is a non apparent disability. So, again, one of the reasons we’re talking
about epilepsy is, yes, it is Epilepsy Awareness Month, but it’s also a non apparent disability. Knowing that over 70 percent of people have
non apparent disabilities, it’s something we wanted to provide more education on. Because unless someone discloses it you may
never know this about this the person. It’s what we call changing disability status. Where someone could go years without having
a seizure so they may not identify as having a disability during that time. They may not need medication. They may not need other accommodations. But in the case of my family member, they
had a seizure a number of months ago. When that happened, they needed a number of
accommodations once they went back into the workplace and needed to know they were walking
back into an inclusive culture where they could tell their manager, they could tell
their co workers what happened and comfortably ask for accommodations in order to continue
their job, but make some adjustments like carpooling to work with people, not having
to drive for a couple months, going to more doctor’s appoints, things like that. With all that being said, one of the changes
that my family member made or pieces of education was picking two to three colleagues in the
office that they work with most closely and that they were around the most often, and
just educated them on seizure first aid as well. So in the event they had a seizure in the
office or workplace, it wouldn’t be a shock of, we don’t know what to do, we don’t feel
comfortable, we’re afraid to touch you, but we now feel educated and know what to do in
this situation to treat it properly. So I just wanted your opinion, Saran and team,
if that’s something else you advise just educating those around or any other tips maybe from
your personal experiences that you would like to share as well?>>TOM BUCKLEY: Thank you, Sarah. My name is Tom Buckley I’m the Director of
Information and Referral. We’re going to talk about those accommodations
and things you can share in the workplace. Because really when we’re looking at the workplace,
we have key areas we want to be very mindful of. Those include safety. A lot of employers are worried about company
liability as well as their employee performance. Adverse customer reactions is related to that. But we know from some of the research time
lost to seizure is only about an hour or every thousand hours of work. There was a survey that was conducted a few
years ago but we’re finding as accommodations are there, we can see that employees with
epilepsy are just as productive as any other person in there. They also found some of the accidents caused
by coughing, sneezing, paper cuts and things like that are just as frequent at any other
medical condition. So the bottom line is many people with seizures
don’t present any job relevant concerns. There are safety sensitive jobs and we’ll
talk about that a little bit. But because people are afraid of getting fired,
they may not necessarily disclose the fact they have epilepsy or seizures. Mostly because of the stigma or fear of job
loss. Specifically in certain areas such as safety
sensitive like law enforcement, fire, medical related positions. Many also don’t disclose until after the job
offer. Again, because they’re afraid they may not
be hired. And employers that require drug testing, sometimes
AEDs or anti epileptic drugs for the treatment can be misinterpreted. Some of them are scheduled drugs that do require
certain controls. We do want to share with you Title 1 of the
ADA from 1990 does make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee
with a disability. It also applies to family members that are
caregivers. When it comes to the family medical leave
act. There are certain protections involved with
that. The ADA does only apply to private employers
with 15 or more employees and all state and government employers. It is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. When most people have a complaint, they have
typically 180 days to file the complaint against a private employer but only 45 days to file
against a federal employer. Some states have a slightly different ruling. I believe California and Wisconsin, there
are a couple others where you get more time and that state handles the entire process
for you. So you do want to check with your state rules
for what’s applicable. In 2008 the act was amended. It clarifies people with epilepsy are absolutely
covered under the ADA and protected from discrimination. The ruling was basically that epilepsy substantially
limits neurological function and that mitigating measures such as the use of medication should
not be considered whether assessing an individual as having a disability or not. There were some Supreme Court rulings that
said it really didn’t create a plausible disability but the ADA ruled even though epilepsy wasn’t
something that was on going for some people. So an individual might have a seizure once
a month or every couple months, they still qualified as being under the ADA and qualified
as having a disability even though it wasn’t on going. All they had to do is show there was a record
of an impairment. It substantially limited one or more major
life activities, and that pretty much all neurological functions were covered under
that disability rule for them. Keeping that in mind, we know that even with
epilepsy and some of the neurological impairment that people with epilepsy have been successfully
employed in a variety of jobs. You know, several consider high risk including
police officers, firefighter, welder, butcher, construction worker and so on. And that one challenge is epilepsy is a high
variable disorder. So the ADA requires us to look at everybody
as an individual. What they are really recommending that we
do is review any job related risks. What changes can be made to improve safety
not just for the person with epilepsy but for others in general as well. They also suggest talking and telling your
co workers about epilepsy and seizure first aid, just as Sarah mentioned. What is it that you can do to educate the
people around you? Is it putting up a seizure poster or holding
training at the job so everyone know what’s to do. If climbing is involved the recommendation
is to only climb as high as you can safely fall. If you have concrete fall, they recommend
protection or padding. I know with our new seizures and safety brochure
we published last year, we recommend even extra padding in a work space. Because a lot have carpeting but there’s no
padding involved. It’s just a thin carpet over a concrete floor. Are safety harnesses required or would be
using a safety harness be added safety that is involved for somebody with seizures. If they have to work around machinery, that
there are shut offs, are they easy to get to? Are they easy to get to or could extra safety
guards be put? One other that’s very important especially
with some people stress and loss of sleep could be triggers for them. Keeping consistent work hours or if they do
have to have work hours getting a reasonable break so they’re able to recover and reenergize
so the lack of sleep and stress isn’t a trigger. If they’re sensitive to flashing lights limiting
exposure as much as possible. We hear all the time about the flashing lights
from the fire alarms. Most of those are below the five megahertz
range which was recommended by the national fire protection agency, and they’re not very
likely to trigger seizures, but there is a small percent of the population that are very
sensitive to flashing lights that may be a trigger for them. The recommendations are dark glasses. We’re seeing a lot of chatter right now on
the network about blue lenses that are available in Australia are still being tested but wearing
those sometimes reduces people’s risk for photo sensitive seizures to occur from a flashing
light. When we also talked a little bit about stress
and I’m going to let Saundra talk more about that and the wellness component for it.>>DR. SAUNDRA LYNCH ERVIN: Thank you Tom and Saran. This is a perfect segue in to talking about
wellness in the workplace. The Epilepsy Foundation wellness institution
mission believes that everyone including people with various types of epilepsy and associated
chronic conditions deserves to live a full productive life to the best their ability. It’s also my belief raising awareness about
healthy behaviors and promoting evidence based programs will allow us to continue to keep
a balance in the things that we do. So one of the things that is important in
the process of stress is knowing the importance of balance both emotional and physical. So the wellness institute decided to engage
in emotional health using a holistic approach which highlights the eight life dimensions
of wellness which you will see on the wellness wheel. Those dimensions are included on the wheel. What I am going to focus on today is stress
management and how we can look at stress management in terms of wellness in the workplace. While each of these dimensions of life can
stand alone, they are all interconnected. As one dimension improves or is challenged,
so are the others. So I hope that makes sense. So today I’ll highlight the dimension of stress
management. Managing stress is a common thread which we
find occurs through all eight life dimensions. We know as employers and employees and caregivers
that stress can come to the workplace with us and stress can also leave the workplace
with us. Think about this. Think about a scenario where stress followed
you to work. Has that ever happened to you? However, let’s put a pin right there for a
minute and think about this question. What is stress? In general, stress is a way of responding
to any change in life, especially if it is related to a demand or threat. It could come from environmental, it can come
from physical or emotional triggers. Everyone, people living with epilepsy, family,
friends and other caregivers feel stress at different times. Stress is a normal part of our life and is
often associated with a busy schedule, too much on our plate, major life changes, getting
a relocation, getting married, maybe even a new epilepsy diagnosis or other health challenges. So what role does it play in your life? Stress can be good and stress can be bad. Stress is exciting during positive events
like the birth of a child or a job promotion. It create as level of energy for meeting challenges. However, stress can be debilitating. As we talk about stress and persons living
with epilepsy the question often asked is: Can stress cause seizures? Well some reviews suggest that stress is the
most frequently reported seizure trigger. Therefore, seizures may be more likely to
happen at times of stress. It is not known why stress can cause a seizure
because it could be the stress itself or it could be the person’s reaction to the stress. Think about a time when you had a stressful
moment and how your body reacted to the stress. Your brain sets off an alarm. This alarm to release hormones. It travels through your body to protect your
heart rate and your blood pressure. So at this point you experience a surge of
energy which prepares your body to move into action and think faster and easier to problem
solve and strategize your next move. If you have ever been frightened by a barking
dog or had a major project you were working on and the deadline was getting close, you
probably experienced some stress. While we all may have some problems remembering
certain things due to overload, people with epilepsy commonly report having problems with
their thinking and memory. Some examples are forgetting appointments,
can’t remember things in their long term memory, but they can remember things in their short
term memory. That’s reversed actually. It’s they cannot remember things in their
long term they can. And they cannot in the short term. And have some difficulty concentrating and
paying attention. Any of these things can affect people living
with epilepsy both personally and professionally. So memory difficulties can have such a tremendous
impact on people living with epilepsy that it may hinder their functioning at work, in
school or at home. However the good news is persons living with
epilepsy are gainfully employed in the workplace. So I’d like you to visit Epilepsy.com for
more information and resources about stress, emotional health and caregivers. Now I will turn it over to Tom who will share
information on tips for success in supporting job seekers and employees with epilepsy. Thank you.>>TOM BUCKLEY: Thank you, Saundra. So we’ve talked a whole lot about different
things here. The stress and triggers, what are seizures,
first aid. And we have an employee who wants to come
in and get a job, what are accommodations when somebody asks for them? Well according to the ADA employers are required
to provide a reasonable accommodation for employees who fall under the ADA definition
unless there’s an undue hardship. The number one question we get asked is what
is an undue hardship? Unfortunately we really don’t have an answer
for that that is global for everyone. We know the ADA only covers organizations
with 15 or more employees, but what do they consider undue hardship? .
One of the example is am aware of is an individual is to go out and do site visits they get mileage
reimbursement as part of their job because they use their personal vehicle, and they
have a seizure and they’re not allowed to drive for six months, some states it’s three
months, some it’s six months, sometimes it requires a doctor’s clearance, but during
that time they’re not able to drive. What would be a reasonable accommodation? That case? Sometimes it might be maybe instead of doing
mileage reimbursement they allow them a transportation fund to use public transportation, Lyft, Uber,
taxi, local transportation services. Maybe additional travel time
So some of the the job accommodation network really estimated that 56 percent of accommodations
really had no cost to them. It was just a matter of modifying the position
or some kind of role in the position to make it still work. Those that did have a cost usually fell around
$600 a year. That was an annual cost. If there was a one time equipment purchase
sometimes with individuals who have a physical disability, the cost was included in that
estimated number. But it be simple like adjusted hours. Maybe they have come in an hour later. Maybe they need extra time to complete a task
because maybe memory retention is a challenge. And they need a little more time to process
that. Staying away from certain triggers like the
lighting, heat, cold, loud noises. Some cases may be as simple as teleworking
if that’s an option at your organization. Maybe, you know, the requirement is they are
on board six or nine months and they need to come in for a while for training but then
they’re able to work from home earlier. Other accommodations might be as simple as
extended breaks to recover from a seizure, time off from a seizure, or if you are in
an open work space to have a recovery space. Adjusted leave for medical appointments. And that might be for the family member or
caregiver who has to take them to the doctor’s appointment because they’re not able to drive
or have time to get them around to get their medications and things they need. In addition to that, additional leave might
be necessary if somebody has to change medication and it takes time to adjust. Especially if somebody has started having
seizures again. The goal we promote with professionals and
individuals with epilepsy is zero seizures. So that takes time to get there and it takes
some work and constant communication with the healthcare providers. As employers you can require an employee to
give you a return to work date. Not necessarily an open piece. Family medical leave act allows for up to
twelve weeks and some of that is paid. But we encourage employees to be in contact
with the Human Resources department to keep in touch about what’s going on and what the
needs are. Other accommodations might be simple policy
modification. The allowance of a service animal. Service animals provide a great benefit to
people who have seizures and can alert others that a seizure might be happening. If they do have an sense or loss of awareness
of what’s going on, they might wander into a hazardous area and the service animal can
help protect them from that. Again, we mentioned private areas for rest
after a seizure. Other tasks, things that help with concentration
and memory difficulties. Provide written or picture instructions. Retraining might be necessary or repetitive
training in order to help the memory retention occur. Regular refreshers. Allowing use of voice recordings not only
for them to take notes but when you do a training or something so they have something to go
back to. Other times it might be a little bit of job
restructuring that’s required, especially if there’s marginal job functions that can
happen. Avoiding climbing, working at heights. Is there somebody else that can do that? Driving is a key one that we get a lot of
questions about that somebody’s license has been temporarily suspended or revoked because
they’ve had a seizure and they’re told they can no longer perform their job. But if driving is not a majority of the job
task is that really a requirement? Is it essential function? And there are other transportation means or
accommodations that they might use. Again, back to traveling with a co worker,
public transit, allowing a little extra time for travel. Then training can it be done in smaller or
repetitive segments. Maybe deal with one trainer then another and
go over it again. Telecommuting another one out there. What tasks can be performed at home without
causing specific difficulty or expense? Can they be adequately supervised? Is there any needed equipment or technology
available at their house? Can work be split between the home and office? If there are other eligibility requirements
and things that need to occur. Some of the environmental challenges or changes
that you might see. You know, we mentioned this before, safety
devices around machinery, adding floor padding, eye protection, a rest area, reassignment. If somebody has seizures and they work with
a piece of machinery and it does become a safety sensitive issue, you know, is there
another position they can be moved in to temporarily while they recover or while they change medication? They still may be required to perform certain
functions but is there another position they can be moved in to if necessary? When does this become undue hardship? Again, this has to be determined on a case
by case basis and what the accommodation request is. The employee does have to make the accommodation
request to the employer. If it does seem like it’s an undue hardship
the employer is responsible for trying to identify another accommodation that would
not pose such a hardship. And the individual making the request can
be given the option of paying for a portion of it. A lot of times people think the employer has
to pay 100 percent. But if it’s not an easily done thing you can
ask the employee, you know, there’s a percentage of this cost that you may have to cover, especially
if it’s something unique out of that. Because most accommodation requests we already
know don’t cost that much. One other things that good to know. The employers cannot disclose somebody’s epilepsy
to other staff members unless they are in a direct, supervisory role. If a co worker of an employee comes up and
says why do they get extra time off, you are technically not allowed to tell them. Only the direct supervisors have a need to
know as well as maybe Human Resources department where the accommodations requests are in there. It is up to the employee to disclose to the
co workers they have epilepsy and what they need done at that point. We do have some resources for people. We do have the Jeanne A. Carpenter legal defense
fund to talk to individuals who feel like they face discrimination with their employer. We’ll help connect them up with attorneys
to get a guidance or bounce back of ideas whether or not there’s an actual issue going
on. Then the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission
has a large question and answer area about epilepsy in the workplace. And the ADA. At this point for those that are interested,
there is additional resources for employers. It’s working effectively with employees who
have epilepsy. It is a study article done by Cornell University
that kind of talks about what the costs are and how all that’s benefit. And then the job accommodation network is
available to both potential employees and employers for guidance and maybe helping identify
things that might be reasonable accommodation or undue hardship on that. Sarah, I’m going to turn it over for some
questions.>>SARAH PULLANO: Sure. Thank you all so much for all the information. There are a couple of things that I wanted
to reiterate and just mention as well. So one of them being that I think one of the
favorite, my favorite statistics that Epilepsy Foundation has on its site is that 6 out of
10 is the number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown. So if think a lot of times we stereotype and
it could be from what we see in the media and how seizures and epilepsy is portrayed. But we might default to thinking about someone
being in an environment or room where there’s a flashing light or a strobe light or something
like that and then immediately causes a seizure. And something more like a grand mal seizure
where it is stiffening of the body and a little bit more severe in symptoms like that. But from what I understand from today’s presentation,
that is not at all necessarily the case. And in the case of my family member as well,
just speaking personally, they have epilepsy to where the cause is unknown. A little bit scary for us, but, at the same
time, making the point that some of those stereotypes are in fact stereotypes, and it
isn’t always going to be that type of seizure or the cause and trigger from, again, what
we probably see in the media and see on shows. So I wanted to ask you all, are there any
other myths or stereo types that come to mind that you have heard of about people with epilepsy
that you wanted to call out?>>TOM BUCKLEY: Probably I think you are very
correct on that. One of the very common ones is that flashing
lights will trigger seizures. That’s actually very rare statistically. We know one piece of that is oftentimes people
with epilepsy also have migraines and headaches. It’s more likely to trigger a migraine than
it is a seizure on that side of it. Saran was there any other myths you wanted
to add?>>Saran: Probably reiterate the earlier slide
where I talked about the misperceptions that people have about epilepsy or about seizures. The one about putting something in someone’s
mouth. That to me is always the one to stay on top
of. Because people repeat that a lot. As my slide indicated, you absolutely don’t
ever want to put anything in someone’s mouth including your fingers. Because when someone is having a seizure and
their jaw is really locked down you do not want your fingers to go up against someone’s
locked jaw during a seizure. Your fingers will lose every time. Every time. So you don’t have to put anything in. The person is not going to swallow their tongue. It is not physically possible to swallow your
tongue. So those are just some of the, I think, very
common misperceptions that have been repeated over the years that we are always trying to
correct people and make sure they understand what are the dangers or what can happen when
someone is having a seizure and what is absolutely not going to happen at all
>>TOM BUCKLEY: I would like to add on to that. Seizures last different lengths of time for
different people. Someone might have a seizure that only lasts
a couple minutes and the recovery time might be a couple more minutes after that. Others the seizure may last three or four
minutes but the recovery time might be 20 minutes or longer. If someone does decide to share their seizures
and epilepsy with someone it’s also important to know how long is their dip Cal time. How long do does a typical seizure last for
them and how long is the typical recovery period for them? As we said in seizure first aid it was to
call 911 when it was beyond their normal recovery time. But a lot of times others don’t know what
that beyond recovery time is. So people think that seizure, they go back
to normal, some do not. Some have some confusion afterwards, some
wandering, inability to focus for a period of time in their recovery time. So it’s important to know that everyone is
so different.>>SARAH PULLANO: I think those are great
points to add on to that. So thank you for sharing. I know we have a lot of people from talent
acquisition or recruiters or hiring managers on the line and also from HR on the line as
well. So for you all especially I wanted to reiterate
some of the main points from this training. Yes, we wanted to just provide some education
about epilepsy. Again, it being Epilepsy Awareness Month. There is a lot to know. There’s a lot of stigmas and stereotypes. Seeing somebody with a seizure can be foreign
to us. It’s hard to imagine what potentially their
abilities or restrictions in life might be. But as we found out, they are functioning
people just like everybody else. They most likely will know their own limitations. So remember that. That’s probably a point that I have to remember
about all people with disabilities. If someone needs an accommodation, they most
likely already know what that accommodation is. And disclosure most often happens when somebody
needs an accommodation. If you are talking to a candidate and this
being a non apparent disability and you are trying to boost self indication rates when
you ask your employees just know this person can be at a point in their life where maybe
they haven’t had a seizure in a long time so they haven’t had to identify as having
a disability or they’re choosing not to at this time. It doesn’t mean that that inclusive culture
and knowing that people are educated and have seizure first aid awareness is any less important
to them. Or they could be a caregiver like myself to
where exactly as Tom explained I did need to request accommodations like a flexible
work schedule in order to provide transportation to my family member when they had seizure
I wanted to reiterate that. If the disclosure doesn’t happen in this case
those might be reasons why it’s not happening. But don’t want it to be discouraging for you
to think that, okay, now that I know this, you know, this knowledge will make people
disclose more. What will in fact help to increase disclosure
rates and make people feel more comfortable and really start to change that internal workplace
is talking about this. So that’s an action item I would give everybody
on the line. Go back to your team and share with them that
you attended this event. Or for anybody else that might be on social
media, share on your company’s social media handles that you attended this live training,
that you are invested in Epilepsy Awareness Month and the inclusion of all people with
disabilities and spark that conversation. Because when you start to talk about it, and
you may have a personal tie or connection to epilepsy as well, when you share that,
somebody else may be prompted to share their story as well. And now it’s starting to create those conversations
and that feeling of inclusion within the workplace and increases those disclosure rates. So that would be one of my action items to
everybody on the presentation today. And then share seizure first aid with somebody
else as well. Because, again, 1 in 26 can develop in their
lifetime. Which is a much larger number than I was aware
of. Tom, Saran, Saundra is there anything else? Excuse me, there was one question from somebody. The term hyper hydration was used when describing
triggers for epileptic seizures. Can you tell us what that means again?>>TOM BUCKLEY: Over hydrating, drinking too
much water. It actually can long terms effects are not
as good as people think. I think they recommend four 8 12 ounce glasses
a day but people drink more than that. And that can be bad for your systems sometimes,
especially with medications.>>SARAH PULLANO: Great. Thank you. I know we do have some time, if anybody else
has a question, please feel free to enter it through the chat box and know that you
can reach out to your dedicated account manager with Getting Hired for additional questions. We’ll be happy to follow up with you. While I just give everybody a couple seconds,
Saran, Tom, Saundra anything else you wanted to adds a just a last recap? There’s a lot of great information shared. So anything else you wanted to summarize?>>TOM BUCKLEY: Sure. You had talked about the importance of people
being aware. Although a lot of employers do CPR training
and other training and first aid training, we encourage you to get an epilepsy training
and have your local office come in and do seizure recognition and first aid. The Epilepsy Foundation does offer seizure
first aid posters that can be posted in the workplace. When employees coming in and see that you
are already aware of epilepsy and you’re familiar with it at least some degree, they might be
more comfortable disclosing as well. We also are encouraging people with epilepsy
to create seizure response plans. We did a new release format of that last year
that can be shared with HR or maybe a co worker, you know, whatever they choose, what to do
if they do have a seizure. I know one of our big challenges we see is
that places are afraid of rescue medications for people who have cluster seizures or seizures
back to back. And I know from working with people for years
and I also have a medical background working in emergency medicine is people don’t help
because they’re afraid. They don’t know what to do. And getting the training and becoming familiar
with seizure first aid or any kind of first aid and, you know, the seizure response plan
kind of helps reduce that fear so that somebody will step in and help. So it increases the comfort level.>>SARAH PULLANO: That’s a great tip. Thank you for sharing that, Tom. At this time we don’t have any additional
questions so I’m happy to give everybody some time back to their day. Again, Tom, Saran, Saundra, I wanted to thank
you again for all the great information today, and for sharing this presentation, and for
everybody on the line as well. I hope you all learned something and have
a new piece of information or tip or best practice to bring back to your team. If you have any other questions, please feel
free to reach out to us directly. But otherwise have a wonderful rest of your
day.

Paul Whisler

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