Bus Drivers Getting Lessons on Epilepsy

By: Megan Rowls Email
By: Megan Rowls Email

August 12, 2012

Virginia bus drivers will soon be getting lessons that can help save people's lives. The Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia which is headquartered in Charlottesville got a grant to make sure all bus drivers receive training on how to help a student having an epileptic seizure.

"We want to make sure that all the bus drivers in the Commonwealth of Virginia would have access to information about seizures on buses," said Suzanne Bischoff, Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation.

Emily Lyster's daughter Andrea Lyster had a seizure on the bus while she was on her way to school. Her brother Archer Lyster immediately knew what to do.

"Once he realized she was having a seizure, he was able to alert the bus driver who was then able to react very quickly," said Emily Lyster, Andrea's mom.

Archer told the bus driver to go back home so his sister could get some help. Those swift actions possibly helped save his sister's life.

"We were very luck she was able to come out of the seizure with no long term affects, but we know if any of those factors were different that morning the outcome could have been very bad," said Emily Lyster.

Emily Lyster says she learned about an incident where a young boy had a seizure while on the school bus. She learned he became paralyzed after his airway was apparently restricted.

After hearing this young boy's story she wanted to get involved in spreading awareness on how to bus drivers can handle situations when a child has a seizure on the bus.

"To make sure that the child who is having a seizure is turned on their side when you do that safely, you want to make sure there is nothing blocking their airwaves and to loosen any straps, scarves or ties that maybe around the child's neck," said Lyster.

She decided to tell her story in the training video that will be handed to bus drivers coming this fall. She has also volunteered to speak to bus drivers about epileptic seizures.

"Drivers have a huge job to get children to and from school each day and they are managing a lot of needs and a lot of personalities and a lot of noise on the bus. So a child could have a medical emergency, a seizure or any other medical emergency and it really does to take a group effort to make sure that bus environment remains safe," said Lyster.

Lyster also recommends parents speak with school staff members so they will know about your child's medical needs.

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