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When to see a pediatric neurologist or epileptologist
Your child might need to see a pediatric neurologist or epileptologist if they've experienced:
Spells of staring during which your child does not respond to calling his or her name, or to touching or tapping your child on the arm/shoulder
Unexplained shaking spells or convulsions
Brief involuntary stiffening spells which look unnatural (not just stretching)
Longer spells of altered behavior or sudden confusion
Brief losses of consciousness with no reason
Steady decline in developmental or academic skills, such that he or she is regressing in grade level
If your child already has a diagnosis of epilepsy and the first two antiseizure medications prescribed did not work, then your child needs to see a pediatric epileptologist.
If you come to see us, you do not need to decide if you wish to be evaluated by a pediatric neurologist or epileptologist. A pediatric epileptologist is a pediatric neurologist who has had additional training in the treatment of children with epilepsy. We have both kinds of specialists and they work closely together to provide neurologic care for your child.
Please speak with your primary care physician to arrange a referral for your child to our program. Currently, we do not accept self-referrals from patients.
Getting a referral
How to ask your primary care physician
If you think your child might be having seizures, please know that this is not always easy to determine, even for very experienced physicians. Sometimes the answer is clear, and sometimes further testing needs to be done.
The first step is to talk to your child's primary care provider. Write down what you observe with your child or if possible, video record the event and bring it to your primary care provider for review. Ask them if these events might be seizures.
Your primary care physician will follow a simple referral process to our program and will coordinate with us to share your child's medical records and any test results that may help us learn more about your child’s history.
How to prepare
Before your appointment with American Family Children's Hospital (virtually or in-person)
It would be helpful for our providers if you mentally review what you are concerned about and write down everything you can remember. If your child had, or is having, spells our provider may wish to know what happened before and after the spell and not just during the event. If your child had any studies done (labs, imaging, EEGs), or if your child has been put on any medications, please bring all of the information you can with you or ask your primary provider to send it to our clinic.
Please know that our clinic is comprised of pediatric neurologists, pediatric epileptologists and advanced practice providers who work very closely together. You might receive a first phone or video visit with an advanced practice provider, who will help our physicians by gathering essential information and then reviewing that information with our physicians. This pre-review helps bring your child's history to our physicians' attention earlier and helps us to make better plans for your child if and when you and your child need to come see us in person in the hospital or clinic.
Information for referring providers
We ask referring providers to share the patient's brief history, list of prior medication trials, prior EEG reports and copies of available neuroimaging. Our advanced practice providers then review the history and triage patients to the most appropriate clinic.