Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is primarily noted for producing seizures, which are the most obvious and often dramatic feature of epilepsy. However, there are a number of other symptoms of neurological dysfunction that can be associated with epilepsy. Since much of the brain’s activity is devoted to cognitive functions, it is not uncommon for persons with epilepsy to also experience some degree of cognitive dysfunction (ranging from the obvious to the very subtle), which may only be detected through a neuropsychological assessment. This helps explain why some children with epilepsy experience marked learning problems. Children with epilepsy may or may not have learning weaknesses that fit the traditional definition of a “specific learning disability”. A learning disability (or disorder) refers to a condition in which a person is reading, writing and/or arithmetic skills are significantly weaker than expected based on their intellectual ability (i.e. their IQ).
Persons with epilepsy may have a specific learning disability, either as a direct result of the neurological dysfunction underlying their epilepsy, or through dysfunction unrelated to their epilepsy. However, a number of children with epilepsy appear to have more generalized learning problems that cannot be defined as a specific learning disability.
Excerpt from: Epilepsy and Learning Disabilities by Mark Bailey, Ph.D., R.Psych., Clinical Neuropsychologist at ABLE Developmental Clinic, Surrey, BC
The full article can be found in our Epilepsy Resource Binder, page 53