Mum's the word on epilepsy

5th July 2013 at 01:00
Seven-year-old Layla's quick thinking averted a road accident - and her book about her mother's epilepsy could save more lives

When Layla Reid wrote her Epilepsy Book for Kids, she intended it to be a guide to help other young children cope with having an epileptic parent.

But the simple pocket book - which Layla (pictured) wrote when she was 7, in her own handwriting and with her own illustrations - is increasingly being used in schools to help children understand the condition.

Now Layla, from Bristol, has become something of a celebrity. She appears in a film, Four Chambers (available on YouTube), which paints her as a truly inspirational person, and she was a runner-up in the UK Young Epilepsy Champions Awards this year.

Recently, she put her knowledge to good use. She saved her mother Sarah and baby sister Lauren from being hit by a car when her mother suffered an absence seizure - which leaves the person confused and apparently daydreaming - while crossing the road in traffic.

Layla was inspired to write the book after her mother tried, and failed, to find a child-friendly book that explained epilepsy in simple terms. And the self-confessed bookworm wrote it in only one evening.

The book introduces the Reid family, and goes on to cover what to do when a person has an epileptic seizure - either a fit or an absence seizure - and how to call an adult or emergency services. "I'm so proud of her," Sarah Reid says of her talented daughter. "I never thought in a million years it would be published. She's a clever girl."

Layla, who recently gave a children's workshop at her local library, wants to write more books to help children understand other health conditions. "My mummy also has allergies and sometimes depression, so I would like to write guides about this," she says. "My grandad has diabetes, and I have been asking him about his condition and how it affects his life so I can write about this, too.

"I love writing stories and I don't always just want to write about health. I like making up adventure stories for my baby sister.

"But when I grow up I want to be a teacher. It's a job where you get to do reading and writing and that's what I want to do."

For more information about Epilepsy Book for Kids, visit


- What is epilepsy? What effect does it have on sufferers?

Are there things that people with epilepsy cannot do (for example, drive a car)?

- Could you help if one of your classmates had an epileptic fit? What would you do?

- How can you help if your mother, father, brother or sister has epilepsy?

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