Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in America after migraines, strokes, and Alzheimer's disease, with one of the most commonly known effects of epilepsy being seizures. The fear of seizures happening in public causes many who suffer from the condition to feel isolated and alone. Therefore, anything that can be done to reduce the rate at which epileptic seizures occur, is surely worth trying.
With regular and consistent use, sensory equipment can be used to try to reduce the rates epileptic seizures happen. Below, we explore the reasons for this and provide examples of sensory equipment we recommend as epilepsy solutions.
First of all, it’s important to know how seizures work neurologically in order to understand how and why varying pieces of sensory equipment can be used as epilepsy aids. Seizures are typically divided into groups depending on:
- Where they begin in the brain (onset).
- Whether or not a person's awareness is affected during the seizure.
- Whether or not seizures involve other symptoms, such as movement.
Seizures are scientifically described as being either focal onset, generalized onset, or unknown onset. There are millions of nerve cells within the brain using electrical signals to transport messages to each other. When a seizure occurs these electrical signals are interrupted, affecting how you feel or what you do while the seizure is happening. Although there are different types of epileptic seizures, they all begin in the brain and undergo this process.
How to Help with Epilepsy Using Sensory Equipment
While using sensory equipment within multisensory rooms , individuals with epilepsy feel a soothing effect in a calm, safe space. Some who suffer from epilepsy and spend time in a sensory controlled environment may see a reduction in the severity of their seizures. Given the science behind how seizures are caused, it’s understandable that the development of sensory interaction in a controlled and calm environment could help to reduce the rate of seizures.
It’s important to mention that although there is no scientific evidence connecting the time spent in a sensory environment to reductions in rate or severity in seizures, it may be worth trying as even a very minimal reduction in rate or severity is surely time well spent for that individual who is suffering. Please exercise extreme caution when exposing someone with epilepsy to sensory equipment as it can, in some cases, cause adverse effects.
Sensory Rooms and Equipment
Multisensory environments feature numerous pieces of sensory equipment which can all positively impact an epileptic’s quality of life. From tunnels to soundboards, you can create a completely customized space for someone to explore and learn within. There are some key pieces of equipment within these rooms used to instill calm and relaxation in its users.
Bubble Tubes have the ability to calm, stimulate and encourage interaction as the colors and shapes are constantly moving and changing to encourage visual development and communication skills. Additional benefits include visual tracking, auditory awareness, and social interaction, which are all useful for those who suffer with epilepsy.
Fiber Optics are incredibly versatile and can be used to either relax or stimulate to suit individual requirements. The Fiber Optic Corner Shower, shown in the image to the right, allows for easy integration into a multisensory room. The showering effect allows users to feel a sense of calm when sat or laid under it. With the Superactive and IRiS models users are given the chance to engage by changing the colors themselves.
The Sensory Bedside Cabinet combines both a bubble tube and fiber optics to create a specifically designed calming environment to help with sleep. With many people who have epilepsy experiencing interrupted sleep from seizures, a calming atmosphere before bed could lead to less disturbances at night.
To find out more about our sensory equipment or if you require more information on any of the products mentioned, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team! Alternatively, keep reading our blog for more sensory solutions and information.