Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-m8s7h Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-19T01:10:06.725Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

27 Assessing Differences in Academic Achievement Among a National Sample of Children with Epilepsy Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Brandon Almy*
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Lauren Scimeca
Affiliation:
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
David Marshall
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Brittany L. Nordhaus
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Erin Fedak Romanowski
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Nancy McNamara
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Elise Hodges
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Madison M. Berl
Affiliation:
Children’s National Hospital, Washington, DC, USA.
Alyssa Ailion
Affiliation:
Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Donald J. Bearden
Affiliation:
Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Katrina Boyer
Affiliation:
Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Crystal M. Cooper
Affiliation:
Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA.
Amanda M. Decrow
Affiliation:
Atrium Health/Levine Children’s Hospital, Charlotte, NC, USA.
Priscilla H. Duong
Affiliation:
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
Patricia Espe-Pfeifer
Affiliation:
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.
Marsha Gabriel
Affiliation:
Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA.
Jennifer I. Koop
Affiliation:
Children’s Wisconsin/Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.
Kelly A. McNally
Affiliation:
Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
Andrew Molnar
Affiliation:
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
Emily Olsen
Affiliation:
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
Kim E. Ono
Affiliation:
Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Kristina E. Patrick
Affiliation:
University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA, USA.
Brianna Paul
Affiliation:
University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Jonathan Romain
Affiliation:
Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA, USA.
Leigh N. Sepeta
Affiliation:
Children’s National Hospital, Washington, DC, USA.
Rebecca L.H. Stilp
Affiliation:
Norton Healthcare, Louisville, KY, USA.
Greta N. Wilkening
Affiliation:
Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA.
Mike Zaccariello
Affiliation:
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
Frank Zelko
Affiliation:
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
*
Correspondence: Brandon Almy University of Michigan albrando@med.umich.edu
Rights & Permissions [Opens in a new window]

Abstract

Core share and HTML view are not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.
Objective:

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted schools and learning formats. Children with epilepsy are at-risk for generalized academic difficulties. We investigated the potential impact of COVID-19 on learning in those with epilepsy by comparing achievement on well-established academic measures among school-age children with epilepsy referred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and those referred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants and Methods:

This study included 466 children [52% male, predominately White (76%), MAge=10.75 years] enrolled in the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium Epilepsy (PERC) Surgery database project who were referred for surgery and seen for neuropsychological testing. Patients were divided into two groups based on a proxy measure of pandemic timing completed by PERC research staff at each site (i.e., “were there any changes to typical in-person administration [of the evaluation] due to COVID?”). 31% of the sample (N = 144) were identified as having testing during the pandemic (i.e., “yes” response), while 69% were identified as having testing done pre-pandemic (i.e., “no” response). Of the 31% who answered yes, 99% of administration changes pertained to in-person testing or other changes, with 1% indicating remote testing. Academic achievement was assessed by performance measures (i.e., word reading, reading comprehension, spelling, math calculations, and math word problems) across several different tests. T-tests compared the two groups on each academic domain. Subsequent analyses examined potential differences in academic achievement among age cohorts that approximately matched grade level [i.e., grade school (ages 5-10), middle school (ages 11-14), and high school (ages 15-18)].

Results:

No significant differences were found between children who underwent an evaluation before the pandemic compared to those assessed during the pandemic based on age norms across academic achievement subtests (all p’s > .34). Similarly, there were no significant differences among age cohorts. The average performance for each age cohort generally fell in the low average range across academic skills. Performance inconsistently varied between age cohorts. The youngest cohort (ages 5-10) scored lower than the other cohorts for sight-word reading, whereas this cohort scored higher than the middle cohort (ages 11-14) for math word problems and reading comprehension. There were no significant differences between the two pandemic groups on demographic variables, intellectual functioning, or epilepsy variables (i.e., age of onset, number of seizure medications, seizure frequency).

Conclusions:

Academic functioning was generally equivalent between children with epilepsy who underwent academic testing as part of a pre-surgical evaluation prior to the pandemic compared to those who received testing during the pandemic. Additionally, academic functioning did not significantly differ between age cohorts. Children with epilepsy may have entered the pandemic with effective academic supports and/or were accustomed to school disruptions given their seizure history. Replication is needed as findings are based on a proxy measure of pandemic timing and the extent to which children experienced in-person, remote, and hybrid learning is unknown. Children tested a year into the pandemic, after receiving instruction through varying educational methods, may score differently than those tested earlier. Future research can address these gaps. Although it is encouraging that academic functioning was not disproportionately impacted during the pandemic in this sample, children with epilepsy are at-risk for generalized academic difficulties and continued monitoring of academic functioning is necessary.

Type
Poster Session 01: Medical | Neurological Disorders | Neuropsychiatry | Psychopharmacology
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023