Trent University researchers are seeking families of children who have epilepsy to participate in a project investigating cognitive processes of youngsters aged seven to 13.
The project, which is an extension of a larger study being led by Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter, is investigating the relationship between language and literacy in novice and skilled young readers with typical and atypical development.
Katharine Bailey, a researcher at the language and cognition laboratory at Trent University’s Oshawa campus, is involved with the segment of the research investigating how language and literacy skills in children affected by epilepsy differs from children with typical development.
The research will also investigate how aspects of epilepsy — seizure control, seizure type and treatment, for instance — affect language and literacy. Are children more at risk of having language and literacy challenges when seizures began at an early age? Do tonic-clonic seizures affect language and literacy skills differently than absence seizures? These are examples of the questions the study is aiming to answer.
With about 30 per cent of children with epilepsy affected by learning challenges, Bailey says the study is an important step in discovering more about the relationship between seizure disorders and language and literacy.
“Most (children with epilepsy) have average or higher intelligence but they have unique experiences that might hinder their learning, so we want to understand the cognitive processes in children with epilepsy and how those processes differ so we can eventually inform educators and help them form tools that can help the children be successful learners,” says Bailey.
“Hopefully, we can get a clearer picture of those unique challenges that children with epilepsy face when it comes to learning, so we can understand how they learn and we can promote learning success in the classroom.”
Families interested in participating in this project will be asked to provide medical information related to diagnosis, medications and seizure types. As part of the study, children will be asked to take part in a series of activities and games.
Parents will receive a summary of their child’s functioning level on the standardized measures administered.
Beyond the initial forms and testing sessions, families will not be asked for any additional participation but will be welcome to request a report of any findings.
Families interested in having their children participate in the project can get more information by calling Bailey at 905-435-5102, ext. 5035, or by e-mail at katharinebail(at)trentu.ca.
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Writer: Deron Hamel