atonic seizures – Also called “drop attacks,” these seizures cause brief loss of muscle tone. Abrupt falls from these seizures are common. 

atypical absence seizures – Seizures marked by staring spells and lack of response. The person having the seizure may blink or have a slight twitching at the lips. There may be some responsiveness. Staring spells can be difficult to spot, especially in the developmentally disabled. 

complex partial seizure – A type of partial seizure in which consciousness is impaired. The patient may exhibit automatic behavior such as chewing, lip smacking, hand gestures, scratching, etc. Confusion and tiredness usually follow complex partial seizures. 

corpus callosotomy – In this surgery, doctors cut the nerve bridges in the corpus callosum (which connects the two hemispheres of the brain). This helps prevent epileptic seizures in one part of the brain from affecting both sides. 

electroencephalography (EEG) – A test for diagnosing epilepsy. The EEG records electrical activity in the brain. Small, metal disks are attached to the scalp and connected by wires to an EEG machine. The machine records brain activity as a series of lines, each related to a different part of the brain. 

estate plan – The process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate. Estate planning usually attempts to eliminate uncertainty when a legal guardian passes away.

infantile spasms – Also known as West syndrome, these seizures start in children between 3 and 12 months old and may potentially be controlled with treatment. They begin with a sudden jerk and muscle stiffening. Often the arms are stretched out and the knees pull up. Seizures often occur in a series.

inheritance – Money or property that is left to your child in the event of your death. In general, a child must wait until he or she is 18 to collect any inheritance left to him or her. 

Medicaid plan – Provides health coverage to children, families, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Available in all states for children under 19 and may pay for a full set of services including preventive care, immunizations, screening and treatment of health conditions, doctor and hospital visits, and vision and dental care. 

metabolic acidosis – A condition that occurs when the body produces too much acid or when the kidneys are not removing enough acid from the body.

myoclonic seizures – Sudden muscle jerks that last for only a second. Sometimes many will occur in a row. They can be quite strong and difficult to control. In people with LGS, these seizures often occur in the neck, upper arms, and shoulders. They can also occur in the face. 

respite care – Provides short-term breaks that relieve stress, restore energy, and promote balance in your life. Using respite care allows you to receive support, share the responsibility of caregiving, and maintain your own health. 

secondarily generalized – Usually beginning as partial seizures, these seizures spread throughout the brain (becoming generalized). These seizures last only a few minutes. 

simple partial seizures – A type of partial seizure in which consciousness and ability to interact with the external environment are not impaired. The patient may experience visual hallucinations, localized tingling, emotional symptoms, and tonic or clonic movements. 

special needs trust – A section of your will that acts as a receptacle for money earmarked for the child. This trust is typically designed so that none of the money can be used for food, clothing, and shelter—all service provided by government programs. However, the money may be used for amenities that government programs do not provide such as travel, entertainment, and recreations. 

status epilepticus – Continuous tonic-clonic seizures or recurring seizures so frequent that the person having them cannot recover. Seizures lasting for more than 5 minutes are at risk of status epilepticus and should be considered a medical emergency. Brain damage is likely if the seizures continue for more than 30 minutes. 

tonic seizures – Also called “drop attacks,” these seizures show muscle stiffening, dilation of the pupils, and altered respiratory patterns. Tonic seizures usually last less than 20 seconds. Tonic seizures in people with LGS may become harder to control over time. 

tonic-clonic seizures – Formerly known as a grand mal seizure, this type of seizure is what most people think of when they think of epilepsy. A tonic-clonic seizure usually begins with muscles tightening or locking up, often causing a fall. Unconsciousness follows, along with jerking of the limbs. After seizures stop, the person may experience confusion and fall asleep. Episodes last 1 to 3 minutes. 

vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) – Passing electrical impulses along the vagus nerve to help control epileptic seizures. Short bursts of electrical energy are directed into the brain through the vagus nerve. The energy comes from a battery that is surgically implanted under the skin in the chest.

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