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Guide for Parents | Absence Seizures and Daydreaming

It can be a difficult thing to tell the difference between the petit mal or absence seizures and daydreaming. Sometimes the child responds, sometimes not. And the typical description of “blank look” can happen in many other circumstances. So here is a bullet point list of signals:

  • The child will not respond at all if you call him or her (but could actually say “yes” or “no”)
  • The famous “blank look” or just learning to tell by the eyes – a very unfocused stare
  • Abnormal interruption in activity such as when playing games and all of a sudden going quiet
  • Chewing while otherwise passive
  • Out of ordinary slight movements of the arms while passive
  • Waving a hand in the face does not create a response
  • Neither shaking the arm or shoulder

Be careful because petit mal or absence seizures only appear not dangerous, but can be life threatening actually. Self injury during some activity is commonplace. Drowning has also happened while swimming or for a smaller child in the bathtub. Older sufferers of absence seizures can get into an accident if they drive a car.


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