Maximize Your Child’s Strengths Presented by Jessica Keenan Smith Founder, Living Well With Epilepsy
Living with Epilepsy Today we’re going to talk about how focusing onthe positive can make the negative seem moremanageable—even as your family deals with the upsand downs of a diagnosis of epilepsy.
What’s the goal? I hope you leave this session with some practicaltools to make the best out of each day - whateverthat may bring.
My Story • Febrile seizures as a toddler. • Grand mal or tonic clonic seizures at the onset of puberty. • Diagnosed at 12, between 7th and 8th grade. • Found a combination of meds after a few years. • Finished HS, College in NYC, Married and had a child. • Of course there’s more but we’ll talk about that later.
Start by knowing your strengths Examples of strengths: Creativity Persistence Fairness Curiosity Empathy Team-player Love of Learning Forgiving Gratitude Open-mindedness Humility Hope Perspective Prudence Humor Bravery Kindness Leadership Zest Social Awareness Honesty
Redeﬁne Normal What is normal in your household? - Medicine three times a day - Naps at in the middle of the day - Extra help with homework - Mood swings - Seizures at night
Find the Fun Focus on the joys and accomplishments of today – a smile – contagious laughter – Strengths of your child Nurture your sense of humor – Laugh out loud when you can – Find the ridiculous in the situation
Find support • Join a support group, • Make friends with families facing a similar situation. • Find friends who are good listeners • Be prepared to leave some friends behind who cant relate.
Welcome Feelings, too (sounds corny, I know) • Your feelings are valid, so go easy on yourself. • Find a way to release your anger, sadness, jealousy and happiness -- guilt-free. • Embrace the crazy, let the anger free.
Be Your Child’s Best Advocate • Learn about your childs unique health, ﬁnancial and educational needs. • Explore and prepare for what is/is not available. • Ask for help. • Dont be afraid to reach out to friends and family for support. • Research and ask questions • Schedule and spend special time with siblings as best you can.
Live Life in Moderation This is a tough one. But if you get the hang of it early it makes things easier later on.
Talk about it • Tell friends and family about epilepsy - they may turn out to be your greatest support. • Answer questions when others have concerns, it opens the door to a new level of comfort.
Using and Improving Strengths • Remember your strengths when dealing with difﬁculties • Create a scrapbook or journal as a reminder of strengths • Create your own mantra - for a while mine was: “Embrace the crazy, let the anger free” • Set goals - Get to bed by 10 pm • Celebrate strengths - pat yourself on the back, you deserve it!
Web Resources • Epilepsy Foundation • Epilepsy.com • CUREepilepsy.com • EpilepsyInstitute.org • EpilepsyOutreach.org • TalkAboutIt.org • LivingWellWithEpilepsy.com