Studies show that epilepsy are more common in individuals with autism than the general population. Studies show that in some cases, 20% of people diagnosed with autism also have an epilepsy disorder. Other studies indicate epilepsy prevalence estimates between 5% to 46%.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder which occurs when neurons in the brain experience a brief interruption causing a seizure to occur. Seizures vary from mild to severe and affects over 3 million Americans. There are different types of seizures:
- Generalized Tonic/Clonic- A seizures where the whole brain is affected.
- Absence Seizures- Generally start without any warnings. It affects children and last only for a few seconds.
- Myoclonic Seizures- Are abrupt jerks of the muscle groups which originate from the spine.
- Partial Seizures- The person may look as though he or she is in a trance.
There are many unanswered questions as to why epilepsy is more common in people with autism. There is some evidence the common underlying cause may be both are related to genetic and environmental causes and are both related to some type of brain disorder. Evidence does shoe however individuals with autism and epilepsy have worse behavioral and social outcomes than individuals diagnosed with autism only including issues with motor and daily living skills.
Signs for parents to look out for
- May be difficult to determine especially in children diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder. Red flags include, staring episodes, stiffening of the body and shaking movements.
- A medical evaluation will include brain imaging and an electroencephalogram (EEG).
If you are an educator, be aware that after a seizure, the student will become tired. Allow the student an opportunity to rest.
Medical News Today: Epilepsy and autism: Is there a link?
Neurologist Disorder Treatment. Epilepsy in patients with autism: Links, risks and treatment challenges. Frank McBesag- Published online 2017 Dec 18
Synapse- Autistic Spectrum Disorder Factsheet
Published by: Psychology Today
Written by: Michael A. Ellis
Two recent studies will undoubtedly shock individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These studies show a much earlier age of death in those with ASD as compared with the general population.
One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in April 2017, finds the life expectancy in the United States of those with ASD to be 36 years old as compared to 72 years old for the general population. They note that those with ASD are 40 times more likely to die from various injuries. About 28 percent of those with ASD die of an injury. Most of these are suffocation, asphyxiation, and drowning. The risk of drowning peaks at about 5 to 7 years old. As 50 percent of those with ASD wander, water safety and swim lessons are a must. GPS trackers are also available for purchase should a child wander or get lost. This makes finding the child or adult much easier and faster. Click here to read the rest of the story
Published by: Spectrum
Written by: Nicholette Zeliadt
Traits linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to co-occur even in adulthood, according to one of the first studies of the traits in that age group1.
The results extend support for the idea that autism and ADHD are intrinsically linked — a notion that is largely based on studies of children.
“Not much is known about the transition from later adolescence into adulthood with regard to autism and ADHD,” says lead investigator Ralf Kuja-Halkola, a statistician at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Did you know that there are seizures that are not due to epilepsy? Since November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share information on non-epileptic seizures. It is especially important to know about non-epileptic seizures since 1 in 5 people diagnosed are later found to have non-epileptic seizures.
What is a Non-Epileptic Seizure?
A non-epileptic seizure displays characteristics similar to epilepsy seizures by mimicking similar signs and symptoms including control over their body through shaking movements, blacking out and falling. From the outside, the signs look similar however, the causes are quite different. Non-epileptic seizures, also known as non-epileptic attack disorders (NEAD) tend to resemble a seizure however, they are not caused by electrical impulses in the brain, rather it may be due to an overload of stress including a death in the family, abuse and past painful experiences, causing some to have difficulty handling thoughts and memories in the brain.
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
While the signs differ for each person, a common sign mirrors tonic-clonic seizures involving similar movement including the shaking of the arms, legs and head. Small differences include the person tends to have their eyes closed during the attack which generally last longer than an epileptic seizure.
Who is likely to have a non-epileptic seizure?
Although non-epilepsy seizures can occur to anyone, at any age, studies found people with non-epileptic seizures are:
- More common in women
- More common in people experiencing depression and anxiety
- Likely to occur to people who experience an emotional, stressful event
- More likely to start in young adults.
Diagnosing Non-Epileptic Seizures
The most effective way for neurologist to diagnose a non-epileptic seizure is through a series of test including personal history, medical history and an electroencephalogram (EEG) used to detect abnormal electrical discharges (would not show up in a person diagnosed with non-epileptic seizures).
Treatment is based on the cause of the seizures. Options may include:
- Medication (antidepressants)
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
What is Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome?
Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that is the result of a ring that develops when a chromosome breaks in two places and the short arm of a chromosome has merged with the tip of the long arm.
This anomaly causes recurrent seizures during childhood. It is reported that the seizure can occur at anytime from during the day time to sleeping at night, it is very rare. In fact only 50 cases have been reported in research journals. However, this form of epilepsy can occur from birth to 17 years old.
What makes this rare form of seizures unique is that it does not respond to anti-epileptic medication. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) tends to be successful as well as the Ketogenic diet in reducing the number of seizures.
Children diagnosed with Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome typically experience several types of seizures including:
- Focal seizure
- Non-convulsive status epilepticus
- Frontal lobe seizures
- Tonic seizures
- Generalized tonic-clonic seizures
Signs and Symptoms
Children with Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome generally face challenges in the area of behavioral, learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities. In some instances, children may display physical characteristics including slow growth, short stature and a small size head.
Signs and Symptoms of Intellectual Disability
- Decrease learning ability
- Delays in crawling
- Difficulty solving problems
- Lack of curiosity
- Language and speech delays
- Poor motor skills
- Short attention span
- Use short and simple sentences
- Repeat directions
- use strategies for remembering such as clustering information together
- Provide immediate feedback
Signs and Symptoms of learning disabilities
- Difficulty recognizing non-verbal cues such as facial expression
- Fine motor skills difficulty
- Weak visual discrimination abilities.
- Use a multi-sensory approach
- Break into small steps
- use probing techniques
- use diagrams and pictures.
Genetics Home Reference
Rare Chromosome Organization
Source: Meraki Lane
If you’re looking strategies and products that help with autism and noise sensitivity, you’ve come to the right place.
While no two children with autism are the same, and the range and intensity of symptoms varies from person to person, certain characteristics tend to stand out when interacting with children on the autism spectrum. Communication challenges, an inability to express emotions and understand the emotions of others, difficulty with transitions, poor impulse control, and problems with self-regulation are all common struggles for kids on the spectrum. Click here to read the rest of the story.
Since President Trump’s, election, there has been a vigorous interest in politics not only in the United States but also in other countries as well. The upcoming mid-term elections provides an opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities to participate through a lesson plan created not only on the upcoming election, but also ways to get individuals more involved on topics and platforms that impact their lives.
Sadly, I have heard very little from politicians on issues concerning people with disabilities and the impact it will have on people with disabilities and their families. This affords an opportunity to have real discussion with people on issues that are important to them through a series of multisensory activities.
- Who doesn’t like a game of bingo? Download the bingo template, make as many copies as you wish and set up an activity playing Bingo. Once you call out a name. use it as an opportunity to have discussion i.e. How would you describe a conservative? When is the election held? Below, click on the template
2. The second activity includes a week-long lesson plan on election and representative in office using a multisensory approach. The first day is set up for making an apple smoothie and a trip preparation activities allowing individuals to work on their social and money management skills. I left the lesson plan editable so that you can move activities around as you wish.
Materials Needed for the lesson plan activities
Mock Voter Registration
mock voter registration
Apple Smoothie Recipe
Apple Smoothie Recipe
Caramel Apple Smoothie
Patriotic Printable Paper Chain
Free patriotic printable chain
Patriotic paper chain with needed supplies
Oh, this is also a great activity to use a home or school for students at the high school level.