The Thinking About Epilepsy program educates fifth graders to recognize seizures, provide first aid, and understand the challenges of living with seizures and epilepsy. The program promotes tolerance and engenders positive attitudes towards people with epilepsy.
The fifth grade program addresses epilepsy-related issues experienced by grade school children, teaching them that stigma begins when individuals are labeled and categorized – actions that often lead to rejection and discrimination. The way to combat this is by providing knowledge about the issue, which leads to changed attitudes. It was determined that the best place to start was with fifth graders, influencing them at a stage in their development when they are still open-minded and eager to learn.
Our 30-minute, scripted educational presentation is also unique in that it aligns with curriculum objectives. Presenters use posters, photographs, videos, and role playing to educate young participants. Follow-up studies show that knowledge and attitude were positively affected by participating in the program. In fact, fifth graders who participated in the program had an average 12-point increase in knowledge compared to non-participants, who had an increase of just 2 points.
The program launched in the state of New Jersey in 2007 as a partnership between The Anita Kaufmann Foundation and Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey. Since its inception, the program has educated over 15,000 fifth graders in NJ alone. Currently, the program is offered in select locations across the United States. Our goal is to offer the program nationwide.
If you are interested in finding out more about the fifth grade program or to learn how you can become a Fifth Grade Program Educator, please contact Debra Josephs at 201-655-0420 or fill out our contact form.
The Anita Kaufmann Foundation is the exclusive American licensee and distributor of this curriculum unit, first developed by the Epilepsy Support Centre of London, Ontario, Canada.