Discover job searching tips and where to access workplace support in APM's guide to jobs for people with epilepsy.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a long term condition in which a person experiences repeated seizures.
Seizures happen when the electrical activity inside the brain is interrupted. Epileptic seizures can occur as a result of a genetic disorder, or an acquired brain injury such as a trauma or a stroke.
Everyone's experience with seizures is unique. Different areas of the brain can be affected and there are a variety of seizure types, severities and symptoms.
Epilepsy is usually treated with antiepileptic medication and by avoiding triggers. Other treatments may be used, depending on what the underlying cause of the epilepsy is.
Can you get a job if you have epilepsy?
People with epilepsy can have a meaningful and successful work life, while managing their symptoms.
There are many people with epilepsy successfully employed in a variety of roles, including roles which include driving.
As long as the individual and the people around them are not put in safety risk, there are few limits on the types of jobs someone with epilepsy can do.
An employer can't refuse you a job because you have epilepsy. They will need to consider your skills and abilities, whether you can perform the job tasks and if there are any safety issues when deciding if you would be a good fit for the role.
There are some jobs that are not open to people with epilepsy for safety reasons. These include:
- Fisherman or deckhand
- Bus, train or truck driver
- Heavy machinery operator
Jobs for people with epilepsy
People living with epilepsy work in a wide range of workplaces and job roles. The most suitable type of job is different for everyone.
If you're not sure what jobs are right for you, it's important to get an individual assessment and specialised advice based on your unique interests, abilities and epilepsy diagnosis.
The type of jobs that you can do largely depends on:
- The type of seizures you have
- How often they happen
- When they occur (time of day)
- The level of seizure control
- Whether you're taking medication
- The potential risk to yourself, co-workers or the public (e.g. working at a height or operating heavy machinery)
Read about how APM helped Ben find work and access the tools and equipment he needed to do his job.
Searching for employment opportunities
There are many ways to find employment opportunities, including:
- Asking the people you know if they have heard of any job openings
- Searching on employment websites
- Looking on specific company websites on their 'careers' or 'jobs' pages
- Approaching a company you want to work for directly
Searching for a job can take a long time. It's natural to feel discouraged if you experience setbacks along the way.
If you are living with epilepsy and want to work, you could be eligible for support from Disability Employment Services.
Disability Employment Services is a government funded program designed to help people living with disability find meaningful work and get the support they need to do well in their new job.
When you register for Disability Employment Services with APM, one of our employment consultants will work with you to find job opportunities that are right for you.
We can also help with writing job applications, preparing for job interviews, accessing workplace support and more.
Writing job applications and resumes
In your job application and resume, you should highlight the key qualities, skills and strengths which make you a great candidate for the role.
You should include information about your:
- Education and qualifications
- Skills and qualities
- Previous work experience
- Volunteering experience
- Referees who can provide positive feedback about your work performance
You should tailor each resume to the particular job you are applying for. Use the keywords and key skills listed in the job ad and explain clearly how the company will benefit from hiring you.
Get more tips by reading APM's guide to writing a resume and cover letter.
Preparing for a job interview
A job interview is your chance to show a potential employer why you're a great candidate for the role. In an interview, you should focus on your strengths and put your best foot forward.
Preparation is important. Before the interview, you should:
- Research the company
- Practice answering common interview questions like: 'What are your strengths?' and 'Why should we hire you?'
- Think of some real life examples of when you demonstrated qualities that are important for the job
If you talk about your epilepsy and seizures in the interview, be prepared to explain what happens when you have a seizure and any accommodations you might need.
Some employers may not understand what it’s like to work with an employee who has epilepsy. It's important to explain how you will be able to meet all the key requirements of the job role.
Find out more by reading APM's job interview tips.
Managing in the workplace with epilepsy
Lifestyle factors can affect seizure control and your job performance. While working, try to:
- Keep up with your treatment and medication
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Get enough sleep
- Manage stress levels
- Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake
If you need support at work, APM can help you access support to cope with the day-to-day demands of the workplace.
Your employer is legally required to make reasonable accommodations so you can do your job well and safely. This may include things like:
- Changing work hours or work schedule
- Time off for medical appointments
- Changing your role or the types of tasks you do
- Modifying work areas to make them more safe and accessible
- Providing ergonomic equipment and assistive technologies
Need help finding work? Chat with APM today.
If you’re living with epilepsy and want to work, APM can help you find job opportunities that are right for you. We believe everyone has the right to experience the life changing benefits of working in a safe and supportive environment.
When you register with APM for Disability Employment Services, we can help you with:
- Brainstorming jobs for people with epilepsy
- Finding job opportunities that are right for you
- Writing job applications and resumes
- Preparing for interviews
- Accessing financial support for things like transport to and from work
- Accessing workplace accommodations and ongoing support
Ready to get started? Chat with APM today.