Children's epilepsy resource for Clinicians

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Learning and Behaviour


A subset of individuals with epilepsy will experience some degree of cognitive impairment [1], the causes of which are complex and multi-determined [2]. While research indicates a higher incidence of intellectual, academic, and behavioural difficulties in children with epilepsy, it is important not to assume all children with epilepsy will have learning difficulties, but to be aware of early signs to enable prompt intervention in order to help each child maximise their potential.


An educational or detailed neuropsychological assessment can help identify a slowing or a regression in the developmental, academic, or social abilities of a child or adolescent. Alternatively, it may help reassure a parent that the child is on-track.


The following sections provide information on some of the signs of learning and behaviour difficulty relating to epilepsy, the assessment of learning and behaviour, and how to make a referral for assessment.





This page was last reviewed in December 2017.

[1] Seidenberg, M. & Pulsipher, D.T. (2007).  Cognitive Progression in Epilepsy. Neuropsychol Re, 17:445-454.

[2] Schoenberg et al. (2011). Epilepsy and Seizures. In Schoenberg & Scott (Eds.), The Little Black Book of Neuropsychology, New York: Springer.