Standing Tall for Epilepsy: Rights and Research
In November 2011, VEPC hosted its epilepsy conference, Standing Tall: Rights and Research , at the University of Victoria. Our keynote speakers were Drs. Mary Connolly, speaking on psychiatric issues that some people with epilepsy experience, and Kristen Attwell-Pope, who used case studies to share how epilepsy is diagnosed. Our special guest was Ms. Gloria Peckham, the chief trainer for seizure dogs at the Lion’s Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. Gloria, and her human and canine assistants, gave a 45 minute demonstration on how dogs are trained and matched to their owners
The conference had two themes: on the medical front, our keynote speakers aided our understanding of some of the psychiatric disorders of people with epilepsy, and gave an overview of epilepsy diagnosis and treatment. On the personal front, we invited specialists to discuss legal, educational, and employment issues to help individuals and families, offering practical, achievable strategies for living better with epilepsy.
Keynote Addresses on Epilepsy Research and Diagnosis
Dr. Mary Connolly (pictured above), Neurologist, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, UBC, Director of Pediatric Neurology Program at BC Children’s Hospital
Dr. Connolly spoke on her research concerning psychiatric disorders of people with epilepsy. She discussed how her current research is leading to better understanding and treatment and the potential implications for improved quality of life for children and adults living with epilepsy.
Dr. Kristen Attwell-Pope, Neurologist,
Dr. Attwell-Pope, through a series of actual case studies, discussed how a diagnosis of epilepsy is made and how treatment is determined.
Special Guide Dog Demonstration
Gloria Peckham, head trainer for seizure dogs at the Lions Foundation of Canada Guide Dogs, gave an information session and demonstration (by our local seizure dogs) on how these highly valuable dogs are selected or bred as puppies, raised, and finally trained as service dogs. She also talked about how the owners must be specially trained as well when they are matched with their dogs.
Your Rights in Action
Civil Rights: Using our newly published book Epilepsy and the Law, Annie Banks, Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition, and Erin Pritchard, Together Against Poverty Society, provided information on civil rights in BC in a number of areas: benefits, employment and workplace, education, accommodation, and others.
Education: Kristin Sinclair, from the UVic Education Department, offered a workshop on navigating the education system, to ensure individuals are receiving the full benefit of the programs and options available to students here in Victoria.
Employment: Bev Anderson and Beryl Swan from TYES offered a workshop on training and employment options and opportunities in BC.
Community: Isa Milman, former Epilepsy Coordinator at the VEPC, offered insights on developing the Victoria community for people with epilepsy. She used her recent work through the UVic Faculty of Fine Arts Writing Program as an example of involvement, sharing, and growing together.
VEPC would like to thank UCB Canada for its generous support of this conference.