LAUREL, Neb. (KCAU) – Incoming freshman Skylar Swanson has been battling a whole new normal and to have school staff be prepared and educated in assessing medical emergencies like hers makes Skylar and her family feel more comfortable.
“I get this very immense pain right behind my right ear before I do start seizing, and I’ll scream for about 1-2 minutes and then I will go into the full on body shake seizing,” Skylar explained.
Skylar Swanson had her first seizure February of this year. Since then, she’s had more than 120 seizures. She says some days, she could go through the day without a single episode. Other days, it’s struck as many as seven times.
“I’ve had about over half of those in school,” Swanson said.
Ever since receiving the phone call that changed the Swanson’s lives, Skylar’s mom Mandy has found it hard watching Skylar leave for class for a full school day.
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“Absolutely terrifying, the first day she went back to school after these started, we let her go for half a day but it was still terrifying because if she would have been walking down the hall and hit her head or I mean, just all the unknowns was so scary,” Mandy Swanson said.
The state of Nebraska recently passed LB 639, the Seizure Safe Schools Act. The bill states Nebraska school districts will now have to offer teachers training on how to both recognize and care for students starting to have a seizure.
“Any adults that work with students, I think its important that they have an awareness of signs and symptoms of a variety of medical conditions so that we can have that awareness that maybe a student might be having a seizure, an asthma attack, if they’re diabetic, anything that increases our awareness and education,” said Becky Eckhardt, of the South Sioux City Community School District.
School nurse Jaime Lenz says the measure makes her too, feel reassured that she has backup.
“It feels great to have team players on your side. I mean, you can’t be in every place at one time, so it’s good to know you can count on your staff members to let you know right away that something might be up,” Lenz said.
“It’s a never-ending cycle of not knowing,” Skylar said.
“All staff need to be aware that it is growing, and there are a lot of people that have it because it is becoming more and more frequent, especially with the anxiety levels that kids are seeing these days,” Mandy added.