A.Okamoto, E.Shimokawa, K.Kumamaru, S.Harada1 and Y.Suzuki2
Fukuoka Branch, 1Kagoshima Branch, 2Center, of Japanese Epilepsy Association
(Presented on the 1st Congress of Asian Oceanian Epilepsy Organization in 1996)

Updated Sep.25.2001FVisitors since Sep.16.1996


In Japan, the benefits of social welfare are not guaranteed to people with epilepsy. Approximately half of the people with epilepsy were obliged to stay at home after graduation from school, in spite of their efforts and help to acquire a job. To provide people with epilepsy essential facilities for vocational rehabilitation, the members of the Fukuoka branch of the Japanese Epilepsy Association (JEA) established the first workshop "Akari" in Fukuoka in 1994. Two more workshops, "Sazanami" and "Nozomi", have been established this year. Through the practice of our activity to manage workshops, necessary roles of special workshops for people with epilepsy were revealed.


First, the reason why special workshops are necessary for people with epilepsy were considered (Table 1). Then, barriers and roles of workshop were discussed through evaluations of situation and daily life of members. Necessary attentions were also considered.

Results and discussion

As shown in Figure 1, 68% of all members had been staying at home before attending workshops, and 75% of all members have at least one concomitant disabilities except epilepsy (Figure 2). They have progressed in their vocational abilities through attending workshops (Table 3 and 4). Various barriers to employment for people with epilepsy and expected roles of workshops were discussed and summarized in Table 5. Adjusting appropriate program for individuals may effectively contribute to lower the barriers based on various disabilities. Special attentions should be paid on rehabilitaion at workshops (Table 6).


1. For the people with epilepsy obliged to stay at home, a special workshop is very important and effective for the vocational rehabilitation to participate in the community and to stand at the starting point of regaining his/her personality.

2. Developing a adjusted program is necessary for a person with epilepsy to participate in as a member at workshop.

3. Not only workshop but also comprehensive rehabilitation program is essential. Accumulation of many experiences through local practice may advance the next step to improve the situation of people with epilepsy.

Table 1. Why workshops are necessary for the peolpe with epilepsy?
1. It is difficult to get job because of their insufficient social adaptability in spite of eager efforts of them and their parents.
2. Staying at home, especially for young people, apt to resulting in not only wasting time but also bringing indolent habit of irregular life style.
3. Employers usually do not fully understand the vocational problems combined with epilepsy, that reduces opportunity for people with epilepsy to work.
4. Social facility is not available.
5. Vocational rehabilitation program specially designed for people with epilepsy is not ready.

Table 2. Three workshops established by the Fukuoka Branch of JEA @@
Name (meaning)Members nDisabilities n StaffEstablished year
Akari* (light)15 Epilepsy 15
Mental retardation 13
Psychosis 3
Autism 1
Sazanami (ripple)5 Epilepsy 4
Psychosis 3
Mental retardation 1
Nozomi (hope)5 Epilepsy 5
Mental retardation 4
*5th Hikari Cooperative Workshop

Table 3. Daily and yearly schedule for members

Daily schedule

Yearly schedule in 1996 (major events)

* Parents meeting and birthday party are held every month.

Table 4. Works and wages

*hijiki: a kid of sargassum

Table 5. Barriers to employment for people with epilepsy and expected roles of workshops
BarriersRoles of workshop
Personal Lack of social adaptability, difficulty to cope with others, strong dependence to others, little spontaneity, whimsicality Arrangement of individual role, making friends through the daily activity, management of diet and money
Refusing accepting their own disability: shifting responsibility, inappropriate self-estimation Supportng acceptance of their own disability through friendships and peer counselling, encouraging to regain self confidence
Physical instablity: impatience and instability to work Close communication with doctors, adjusting program for each individual
Physical weakness Preparation of schedules for exercise
Disability: mental retardation, phsychotic status Understanding individual disabilities and providing adjusted program for ecah
Family Parents hesitate to accep real condition of their children Tight communication with family: monthly parents meeting
Social No systematic facilities for rehabilitation Appealing necessity of workshops, demanding enough financial support to the government and comunity, accumulation of many experiences through practices by local workshops

Table 6. Necessary attention on rehabilitation at workshops
1. To compensate inappropriate judgement and decision by themselves, supervision may be essential. After one work has been accomplished, then, next direction should be offered.
2. It may take longer time for someone to make friendship with other members, another may certainly progress a good relation to others.
3. It is imortant to practice management of money. Many people needs concrete program of SST.
4. A fulltime work may be difficult for many people, while a part-time work may be able to be accomplished. Adjusting program and physical exercise to increase strength are important.
5. Seizures may not influence on working ability, that may depend on how to conquer the disturbance.
6. Although possibillty of having seizures on commutation cause an anxiety, it may be solved by appropriate selection of route and time, and by real practice for a certain period. Preparation to minimize confusion if they hit on unusual case and chose a way by themselves.
7. Goal of the rehabilitation shold be placed on independent life like that at a group home. Anxiety for accidents such that on taking a bath, must be removed.

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