Educating Children, Adolescents With Epilepsy About Diets: Robyn Blackford, RD, LDN


The registered dietician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago provided insight on the importance of educating youths with epilepsy on diets, especially in the transition stages of care. [WATCH TIME: 2 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 2 minutes

"I’ve had patients that are 3 and 4 years old that understand their diet. It’s amazing that they do, but I think it’s all in the wording and how you give families the words to use to help their children understand."

One of the most important phases in a patient with epilepsy’s life is the transition of medical care, where they go from a pediatric specialist to an adult neurologist. Pediatric specialists often share a significant bond with these patients, acting as their primary care providers since birth or early in life. The transition phase is a time of education, where a patient can understand more about their seizures, medical history, seizure action plan, and insurance.

Another area of education is dieting. Dieting has been an approach to help reduce and control the frequency of seizures, usually in conjunction with seizure medications. The classic ketogenic diet—a specific high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet—is commonly used to control seizures, especially in those with refractory forms of epilepsy. Robyn Blackford, RD, LDN, registered dietitian, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, has worked within the field for over 15 years helping patients with epilepsy craft and manage their diets.

Blackford told NeurologyLive that she tries to incorporate her patients on these topics as young as possible, noting that it helps them in the long run. In a recent interview, she provided context on the importance of educating patients on their diets, especially throughout the transition phase. In addition, she shares her own personal experiences treating patients who begin to take the next major steps of their life.

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