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New epilepsy smart disability national program launched today


The new Epilepsy Smart Disability program is now live. It’s part of the $20 million Australian Government funded Epilepsy Smart Australia program launched today in Melbourne, that will assist the 250,000 Australians living with epilepsy, their families, schools, disability support workers plus disability services and facilities across the country.
The ESA launch was hosted by TV presenter Rebecca Maddern with speakers Dr Monique Ryan MP, Professor Sam Berkovic AC, a video message from Hon. Bill Shorten Minister for NDIS, ESA Chair Graeme Shears, Epilepsy Smart School Principal Dr Annette Rome and ESA Ambassadors, 16-yr-old Ava Beck and her mother Lisa.
“Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders in Australia, yet it is not well understood in the community. Epilepsy Smart Australia will make it easier to navigate the world of epilepsy for the 14,000 Australians newly diagnosed each year. Epilepsy Smart Disability will help the disability workforce, disability facilities, organisations and services provide the best care and support that people living with epilepsy need and deserve,” said Graeme Shears, who is leading the ESA collaborative partnership – of six peak health bodies – funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.
There are over 1,200 non-government disability support services in Australia. Epilepsy Smart Disability now provides epilepsy education and training – plus resources and information – for the disability workforce, facilities, organisations and services.

One-in-four Australians who have epilepsy, also live with another cognitive disability. Cognitive conditions like cerebral palsy, down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders have a stronger correlation with epilepsy. Around 20% of people with autism also have epilepsy. Rates of depression, anxiety, dementia, migraine, heart disease, peptic ulcers and arthritis are eight times more common in people with epilepsy than in the general population.
“We now have a one-stop-shop for all epilepsy-related enquiries, information and services. Whether you live in Sydney, Coober Pedy or the Torres Strait Islands, you’ll now have access to the best possible resources and support to help with living with epilepsy. It is our hope that all disability services and carers will utilise the resources on offer.”
Those needing services now have a single point of contact, the National Epilepsy Support Service 1300 761 487.  People with complex needs will be referred to their local state service provider for ongoing, individualised epilepsy support, as well as education, training and local events. 
Epilepsy Smart Disability contains a knowledge hub of downloadable resources such as Developing an Epilepsy Management Plan, guides for family, carers and support workers, tips for travelling with epilepsy and information on medications and epilepsy and education and employment. 
The new Epilepsy Smart Australia program includes the Epilepsy Smart Disability, Epilepsy Smart Aged Care and Epilepsy Smart Schools training programs.
Epilepsy Smart Australia is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. It is a collaborative partnership between epilepsy service providers across Australia including Epilepsy Foundation (Vic/NSW), Epilepsy Queensland, Epilepsy ACT, Epilepsy WA, The Epilepsy Centre SA/NT and Epilepsy Tasmania.

Visit or call the National Epilepsy Support Service on 1300 761 487

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