Absence seizures | Generalised seizures | Epilepsy seizures | About epilepsy

Absence seizures

Previously called 'petit mal' seizures, a person may 'shut off', staring blankly into space usually for about 5-10 seconds and be unaware of what's happening around them.

Then they’ll snap back, so these episodes may not even be noticed.

These seizures may happen many times a day and put the person in a brief unresponsive, daydream-like state, but they are in fact not conscious.

One of the main problems with absence seizures in children is that because the person appears to be daydreaming, it may seem that they not paying attention. They may also find it hard to learn because they miss information.

Symptoms are not always clear, however some of the signs can include:

    • Stare into space and not respond to anything.
    • Stop talking in the middle of a sentence
    • Flutter their eyelids, fidget with their hands, or walk around aimlessly.

Get involved in our #ThisIsEpilepsy appeal focusing on absence seizures

Videos and quizzes

Our online e-learning resources can be used for children with or without epilepsy, who just want to learn more about the condition.

Take a look at our e-learning tools

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