What to do if a student has a seizure?

AccessAbility Services What to do if a student has a seizure?

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Students with a Neurological Impairment - A Guide for Staff


Call Ambulance (Internal Ext: 0000)


Call Campus Security to notify of an incident. (Townsville: 5555 /Cairns: 222)


If trained in first aid, provide appropriate assistance OR

If not trained in first aid:

  • stay calm and remain with the person

  • protect the student from injury – remove any hard objects that are near the student

  • time the seizure, if possible

  • ask if another person is trained in first aid

  • wait for emergency services to arrive

If the student is in a wheelchair:

  • leave the student seated as long as they are secure and safely strapped in

  • support their head

  • follow STEP 3

Do not:

  • apply first aid, unless qualified

  • put anything in the person’s mouth or between their teeth

  • restrain the person unless they are in danger

  • give pills, food or drink

About Seizures

  • A seizure is a sudden disruption to normal brain activity, which causes unusual movements, odd feelings or changed behaviour

  • The cause, type and treatment of seizures vary from person to person

Although many people who witness a seizure fear that the person may be harmed by the event, the risk of brain damage or death from a seizure is minimal

Types of seizures

Generalised seizures

There are several types of generalised seizures:

  • Tonic Clonic Seizure – the muscles suddenly stiffen and the person may fall. Rhythmic jerking follows. The person may bite their tongue or become incontinent. They are often confused afterwards.

  • Absence Seizure – The person will go ‘blank’ for a brief time during which they may stare and their eyelids may flicker. These seizures are often not noticed by other people.

  • Tonic – the body stiffens and the person may fall, sometimes causing injury. Recovery is usually quick.

  • Atonic – a sudden loss of muscle tone causes the person to fall, sometimes causing injury. Recovery is usually rapid.

  • Myoclonic – abrupt and brief jerking of one or more limbs.

Partial seizures

There are two types of partial seizures:

  • Simple Partial – the person remains conscious but they may have unusual sensations or movements.

  • Complex partial – the seizure may begin with an odd taste or smell, a rising feeling in the stomach or a sense of déjà vu. This may be followed by a loss of awareness during which the person may make movements such as chewing or tapping. The person is often confused after the seizure.

Adapted from Better Health


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