The Epilepsy Center at Lurie Children’s offers one of the most comprehensive and multidimensional care programs in the country. Part of what makes our care so unique is the amount of support services offered to patient families.
When you contact the Epilepsy Center, you will speak with one of the following team members who will guide you through next steps. All members of our support staff speak both English and Spanish.
Clara Samaniego Office Coordinator
Maria Carpio Administrative Assistant
Luciano Pedroza Administrative Assistant
Vanessa Vasquez Administrative Assistant
Alicia Alonso, RN Registered Nurse
Lauren Cochran, RN Registered Nurse
Kristin Vandenbranden, RN Registered Nurse
Debbie Williams, RN, BSN Registered Nurse
Our education specialist, Robert Blaufuss, M. Ed., is a former school principal who works with up to 125 patient families and their school systems each year to help them understand the educational needs of children with epilepsy and make Individualized Education Plan (IEP) recommendations. After 39 years in the education system, Mr. Blaufuss is an expert at communicating with both patient families and schools, translating complicated medical information into terms everyone can understand.
What to Expect
Families usually begin working with Mr. Blaufuss after a referral from a team member such as a doctor, nurse or social worker. Before making any IEP suggestions, he learns about the child, the parents and the school system through the following channels:
Medical and education history review: Mr. Blaufuss familiarizes himself with the child’s history, current medical profile and reviews the current IEP if there is one in place already.
Parent consultation: He consults with the child’s parents to make sure they fully understand how to advocate for what their child needs in the classroom.
Classroom observation and evaluation: He’ll attend evaluation meetings and sometimes observe classrooms, and, if necessary, he’ll meet with a principal or administrator to learn more about the school.
Mr. Blaufuss attends IEP Meetings as part of the support services that he provides to patients, parents and schools. He may also participate in the following:
IEP meetings and recommendations: With the parent’s invitation, Mr. Blaufuss attends IEP meetings and shares his ideas with parents and the school’s multi-disciplinary team members. He helps to make sure both the parents and the school professionals understand how the child’s medical issues may impact learning. He frequently proposes suggestions that can be incorporated into the IEP.
Informational presentations: Mr. Blaufuss talks to classrooms and groups of teachers and administrators about epilepsy to spread awareness and make people more comfortable with the condition.
Recognizing that epilepsy can be scary for people who aren’t familiar with it, Mr. Blaufuss’s goal is to ease that fear by giving people enough information to be prepared if an incident happens. His services are available for all Lurie Children’s Epilepsy Center patients.
Explore every component of our multidisciplinary approach to epilepsy treatment by visiting some of our other care areas.
Social Work Services
Our social workers are valuable members of our epilepsy treatment team who have expertise in providing emotional support to patients and their families. They serve as an important liaison between the family and medical team. They help families adjust to their child’s illness, medical recommendations and emotions related to diagnosis. They provide crisis intervention and assess for safety issues concerning abuse and neglect. In addition our social workers assist families in identifying resources such as special education programs, community counseling services, outreach programs, respite centers, home health aides, and referrals to various support programs that help meet basic needs.