Hannah Gault explains ignorance behind epilepsy


15-year-old A-West sophomore Hannah Gault is a girl who, around a year ago, began to face the brunt of her diagnosed epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a neurological disability in the brain which causes seizures, which are a disruption of the electrical communication betwixt neurons, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

One morning at school in January 2018 Gault seized in class, warranting the call of an ambulance to take her to the hospital. This was only the beginning. Since learning her diagnosis, Gault had to begin taking many precautions in order to better her safety.

“I’ve had to take countless pills, that’s for sure. It’s a lot of pills, a lot of doctors appointments, and always at Children’s Hospital,” Gault states.

“I’ve gone from I can just wake up in the morning, I can just go to bed at night to oh, now I have to wear a watch to monitor my brain I have to wear it 24 7, I have to take pills at this time and that time each day and night I can’t get the dosage wrong blah blah blah.”

Her rigorous medical precautions have also caused a strain in her daily life, especially in school. Gault often experiences migraines, which are indicative of an oncoming seizure. Because of this, when she experiences them she has to stay home for her own safety. Last year, she states that she missed around two to three days a week. However, this year she has expressed that she has been able to bring it down to around one day a week. This has also impacted the severity of school for her, as she will typically be behind and have plenty of work to make up.

Due to these inherent challenges, Gault was introduced to a 504 plan. This is a plan designed to help students with disabilities to not get too far behind in school. As an example, Hannah states that if she were to miss a day of school the smaller assignments would simply be erased, in order to not bring her grade down terribly.

“The 504 plan is basically a leg up,” Gault states.

Gault’s epilepsy also had an impact on some of her hobbies, such as theater. Epilepsy can augment depression and anxiety. Regarding theater, last year she was reportedly fine with performing. However, this year she says she has been feeling a lot more anxious when on stage.

Gault will continue to search for a treatment that works for her, and persevere every day despite this medical setback.