The SEEN Study 2017

The purpose of the SEEN study was to document, on a population basis, the development and behaviour of young children with epilepsy. The study also focused on emotional wellbeing, sleep and fatigue in their parents. A comparison group of children with neurodisability were included; these children did not have epilepsy but had other neurological or neurodevelopmental problems. This comparison allowed us to study whether having a child with epilepsy, specifically, has an impact on parental functioning.

Children with epilepsy have a high neurodevelopmental need and are at increased risk of learning and behavioural difficulties. Those who have epilepsy in early childhood are a particular risk group for such difficulties. Despite this, children with epilepsy rarely have their learning and behavioural needs identified as the focus is often on the need to manage seizures.

Parents of children with epilepsy are at high risk of mental health and sleep difficulties. This study highlights the need for further understanding of the needs of families in order to provide better support. There is limited population-based research, or research which compares parents of children with epilepsy with parents of children with other neurodevelopmental or neurological conditions.