Aim To find out the awareness and attitudes of children to epilepsy in their siblings.
Methodology The children with epilepsy from the epilepsy clinic were grouped into three: 1) well-controlled epilepsy, 2) poorly controlled epilepsy, 3) children with epilepsy and learning disability. The families were contacted over phone to identify epileptic children who had siblings who were at least 7 years old. They were briefed about the survey and a verbal consent was obtained at this time. They were instructed not to help the children in filling the forms. This was mentioned on the questionnaire also. The questionnaire was made based on published articles on the subject. It was colour coded according to the groups.
Once the questionnaire was sent, a reminder call was given after 3 weeks to everybody, as there were no means to identify the responders.
Results 32 questionnaires were sent out, of which 18 were returned. Of these, 11 were from children with well controlled epilepsy, and seven from children with additional learning disability. No responses were obtained from siblings of children with poorly controlled seizures. The mean age was 13.5 years. Male to female ratio was 1:1. The results are as follows.
The responses from the group with associated learning disability were not very much different from the one with well controlled epilepsy. This survey is unique because it attempts to gain the views of children, not parents. Its limitations are the small sample size, and the lack of response from one of the subgroups.
Conclusion Children undergo a stressful life because of the various problems arising from epilepsy in their siblings. Good counselling services have to be in place to help these children overcome this.