PURPOSE: Epilepsy is one of the most common neurologic disorders of childhood. However, in Thailand, as well as in most of other developing countries, little attention has been paid to improve the public knowledge regarding epilepsy. Currently public attitude toward epilepsy is rather negative, full of prejudices and bias. Children with epilepsy in Thailand still find themselves confronted with social barriers that prevent them from academic achievements, in addition to the limitation that the disease itself has already placed on them. To delineate the magnitude and scope of this problem, we performed a small pilot study to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of epilepsy in the school teachers in Thailand whose major impact on the children is manifested by attitudes and learning. METHODS: The study was conducted by sending simple self-administered questionnaires to 360 schools all over Thailand. The questionnaires contained 14 questions relating to epilepsy awareness, attitudes, and first-aid management of seizures. RESULTS: We found that 38% of respondents had not heard of or read about epilepsy, and 46.6% believed that epilepsy is a chronic incurable disease. Fifteen percent of the respondents preferred to place all children with epilepsy in a special classroom. Furthermore, half of the respondents who had experience with first-aid management of seizures used improper and potentially harmful measures. CONCLUSIONS: Besides the proper management of epilepsy, a general public education campaign for epilepsy and the need to address and correct the existing biases are necessary to improve the quality of life of children with epilepsy in Thailand.
Attitude to Health, Child, Epilepsy, First Aid, Health Education, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Prejudice, Random Allocation, School Health Services, Surveys and Questionnaires, Teaching, Thailand