Some people wonder why the children actually do not respond, or, to be more accurate, why they do not sense the outside world and remain completely ignorant of it for the duration of the petit mal seizure?
Child in his own world. Children with Petit Mal
According to a study from the Yale University this connection between the brain state and the loss in attention or awareness is not clearly known. However, some factors are known:
Many of the children suffering from petit mal (~up to 15% of all children) also have a reduced attention between their seizure episodes and this is not because of the medication they may or may not be taking. This loss in awareness during petit mal seizures and a reduced or less than normal attention in between of seizures results in poorer school performance, higher chance of accidents and injuries and social issues.
Other studies give evidence that unusual functionality of certain parts of the brain result in this lower or no awareness and they are trying to pinpoint which areas are responsible for doing this damage which could lead to better treatment options.