Impact of epilepsy characteristics and behavioral problems on school placement in children.


Children with epilepsy are known to be prone to educational underachievement as a result of learning and behavioral problems. This cross-sectional study evaluated the effects of the characteristics of epilepsy and behavioral problems on school placement. One hundred eighty-five children aged between 3 and 16 years with nonoccasional epileptic seizures were included; 82 were mainstreamed in regular schools and 103 were in specialized medical and educational institutions for children with epilepsy. Gender distribution and age were comparable for the two groups. Logistic regression analysis indicated a statistically significant effect for age at onset, generalized nonidiopathic epileptic syndromes, number of antiepileptic drugs and behavioral problems, as dominant factors explaining the type of school placement. No significant effect was found for the state of seizure control. By use of a parent-rated behavior questionnaire, children in special institutions were shown to have significantly more problems in the hyperactivity/attention deficit and sociability domains. Later age at onset of epilepsy was related to more depression/anxiety.