Dravet syndrome, also called severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), is a severe form of epilepsy. It appears during the first year of life with frequent febrile seizures – fever-related seizures that, by definition, are rare beyond age 5. Later, other types of seizures typically arise, including myoclonus (involuntary muscle spasms). Status epilepticus – a state of continuous seizure requiring emergency medical care – also may occur. Children with Dravet syndrome typically experience poor development of language and motor skills, hyperactivity, and difficulty relating to others.
In 30 to 80 percent of cases, Dravet syndrome is caused by defects in a gene required for the proper function of brain cells. Borderline SMEI (SMEB) and another type of infant-onset epilepsy called generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) are caused by defects in the same gene. In GEFS+, febrile seizures may persist beyond age 5.
At Sunshine Butterflies we aim to provide an inclusive environment for individuals and their families living with Dravets Syndrome. If you would like further information on how Sunshine Butterflies can support you, please feel free to contact us.