West syndrome

West syndrome is a type of epilepsy which typically starts at between four and eight months of age, although it can develop at a younger age. It is usually a result of a number of different brain disorders. In some cases, no obvious cause can be found.

West syndrome is distinct as a form of epilepsy because of the particular type of seizure, or spasm, that it causes. West syndrome spasms typically result in a bodily jerk followed by stiffening of all limbs. The most common spasms cause a child to bend forward with their arms or legs being raised. Spasms can cause changes in behaviour and speech.

West syndrome, like epilepsy, is a disability and may result in special educational needs (SEN). In our experience, West syndrome is managed through an agreed medical action plan which the school implement further to the Equality Act 2010. West syndrome can have an impact on a child’s education and in some cases SEN additional support may be adequate. Occasionally an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is required.


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