A schoolgirl who penned a guide to dealing with her mother’s epilepsy is celebrating after becoming a published author – in America.
Talented Layla Reid, eight, wrote her ‘Epilepsy Book for Kids’ as a guide to help children cope with an epileptic parent’s seizures, after witnessing her own mother’s fits.
Sarah Reid suffers from terrifying absence seizures, where she appears to be in a deep daydream.
When Layla showed her book to Bristol publisher John Adler, he was so impressed that he agreed to print it free of charge, and give her a share of the profits.
The book went on sale in major stores including Waterstones, and proved so popular it attracted the attention of an American epilepsy charity.
It is now handed out to American children to help them deal with parents or friends who may have the condition.
The budding writer said: “First of all, I get my sister Lauren to a safe place where she can’t move. Then I get my mum to sit down on the stairs or the sofa.
“Then I get the phone and call my daddy or one of my family. If mummy is on the floor shaking, I call 999.
“I hope it helps some other children so that they know what to do if their mummy has a fit.”
Sarah, 32, has suffered from seizures since she was Layla’s age, and couldn’t be prouder of her daughter’s initiative.
She hopes the book will prove a valuable resource for children coping with a parent’s epilepsy.
She said: “Layla’s support has meant so much to me over the years and I want to thank her.
“So many people don’t know what it’s like to have a seizure, or how to cope with them, Layla is helping so many people.
“She always checks I’m eating properly and that I’ve taken my tablets and is constantly checking on me to see I am ok.
“She has grown up so quickly and so many times I feel that she is the mum and not me. Sometimes I feel she has grown up too quickly, but I’m very proud of how she copes with it all.
“I never thought in a million years it would be published.
“It’s great to have her raising awareness and helping other kids. It could end up being a life-saver for someone.
Amazingly, the entire book was produced in just one evening. Written in Layla’s handwriting, it includes straightforward tips that children can easily follow – such as moving dangerous objects out of the way if someone starts fitting.
It also features her own illustrations.
The guide came about after Sarah tried and failed to find a child-friendly book which could explain epilepsy.
When she realised there was hardly any information for children, Layla came up with the idea of writing a guide for other kids – so they know what to do if they witness an epileptic fit.
Self-confessed bookworm Layla plans to keep up her writing, and hopes this will be the first of many stories.
The eight-year-old said her next venture will be a tale about her baby sister Lauren, who arrived a year ago.
“I’m very happy to have a new sister, and I’m very proud,” she said.
“I want to write a story about all the things we’ll do together for when she’s older.”
The youngster has won a host of accolades for her book, including a Blue Peter badge, a letter from the Queen and numerous awards.
And Layla already has her heart set on a budding career in education.
“I want to be a teacher, because it’s a job where you get to do reading and writing and that’s what I want to do.”