Epilepsy and Autism: What You Need To Know

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).
Teaching Strategies

If you are an educator, be aware that after a seizure, the student will become tired. Allow the student an opportunity to rest.

Reference

Epilepsy Foundation

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

 

Advertisements

What is a Developmental Disability?

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month! Although I blogged  the definition of developmental disabilities here, I wanted to give you more information besides the Federal regulation. Quite often, people are confused between the definition of an intellectual disability and a developmental disability.

A developmental disability is described as an assortment of chronic conditions that are due to mental or physical impairments or both. For example, you may have a child or an adult with an intellectual disability or perhaps a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. It is also considered a severe and chronic disability that can occur up to the age of 22, hence the word developmental. A developmental disability can occur before birth such as genetic disorders (i.e. cri du chat, fragile x syndrome,) or chromosomes ( i.e. Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome); during birth (lack of oxygen) or after birth up to the age of 22 (i.e. head injuries, child abuse or accidents).

The disability is likely to occur indefinitely meaning the person will require some type of ongoing service throughout their lives. Finally, the person must show limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activities:

  1. Self-care– brushing teeth, hand-washing and combing hair independently
  2. Receptive and expressive language-ability to understand someone talking and to also be understood
  3. Learning– ability to read and write with understanding
  4. Mobilityability to move around without any assistance
  5. Self-direction– time management, organization
  6. Capacity for independent living– requiring no supervision
  7. Economic self-sufficiency – having a job  and purchasing what one needs

Here are some examples of a developmental disability:

Does everyone with a disability also have a developmental disability?

The answer is no. there are people with disabilities such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy simply have a disability based on the criteria listed above. However, many people with developmental disabilities quite often have a combination of disabilities. For example a child with autism may also have seizures and an intellectual disability or an adult may have cerebral palsy, intellectual disability and epilepsy. In addition there are many people in the spectrum of autism who also have ADHD and so forth.

So what’s the difference between an intellectual disability and a developmental disability?

A person with an intellectual disability falls under the category of a developmental disability meaning you can have an intellectual disability and a developmental disability. check here for the definition of an intellectual disability, you will see they are quite similar. Below is an infographic created by Centers on Disease Control:

An Infographic on Developmental Disabilities.

 

 

2017 Disability Awareness Month and Observances

Our 2018 disability awareness month article blog is here

Awareness campaigns serve the purpose of informing and educating people on a certain causes. Each year, the number of special needs organizations bringing awareness to specific disabilities and disorders seems to grow. Awareness activities range from one day to a month.

Here is a calendar of major special needs awareness months, weeks, and days. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional materials and fact sheets.

awareness-header

January

January 4- World Braille Day

National Birth Defects National Month

February

February 15- International Angelman Day

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Week February 13-19

March

Down Syndrome Awareness Week March 18- 24 (United Kingdom)

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

National Tuberculosis Awareness Month

Social Work Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

April

Auditory Processing Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Month

May

May 5- Cri Du Chat International Day

International Cri Du Chat Awareness Week May 1-7

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Apraxia Awareness Month

Better Speech and Hearing Month

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

Prader Willi Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

June

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week June 24-30

Dravet Syndrome Awareness Month

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

July

National Fragile X Awareness Month

August

Aicardi Syndrome Awareness Month

September

Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

National Spinal Cord Injury Month Awareness

Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Month

October

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

OCD Awareness Week- October 8-14

ADHD Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

National Disability Awareness Month

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

National Physical Therapy Month

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Sensory Processing Awareness Month

Special Needs Law Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

November

November 4- National Stress Awareness Month

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

December

December 3- International Day of Persons With Disabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Cerebral Palsy Day

Today is World Cerebral Palsy Day, not just a way to bring awareness, but to create a movement among people with cerebral palsy, their families and the organizations that support them.

Held in over 50 countries, World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day is an opportunity for people to take action by creating a global movement for change.

What can you do?

The goal of World CP Day is to encourage people to take action in six-key areas:

  1. Public awareness- putting an end to ignorance and the stigma it can create.
  2. Civil rights- ensuring that government officials at the local, regional, and national level will take concrete action
  3. Medical/Therapeutic- ensuring the best information for diagnoses, prevention and treatment is available.
  4. Quality of Life- ensuring that people with cerebral palsy find enjoyment and fulfillment in life.
  5. Education- helping all educators provide an education to members of the cerebral palsy community
  6. Contribution- making sure each person has the ability to contribute to society.

Oh, and don’t forget to tweet using the hashtag #WorldCPDay

Resources

cp-poster-what-is
What is cerebral palsy?- Infographic

cp-poster-diagnosis
Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis and Treatment Infographic

Autism Facts and Statistics

April is Autism Awareness Month

autismlogo

1 percent of the world population is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder

Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births

1 in 42 boys are diagnosed with autism

1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism

100 individuals are diagnosed everyday

More than 3.3 million Americans live with autism spectrum disorder

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability

Autism services cost the United States citizens 236-262 billion annually

Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on an average

Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism

Autism generally appears before the age of 3

40% of children with autism do not speak

25-30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months, and then lose them.

Almost half (44%) of children with autism have average to above average intellectual ability.

Autism is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

The UK estimate is 1 in 100 are diagnosed with autism

30-50% of individuals with autism also have seizures.

Autism Spectrum Disorders refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders which includes repetitive patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication, interaction, sensory processing and motor issues.

Eugene Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist first termed autism to adult schizophrenia.

In 1943, Leo Kanner dissociated autism from schizophrenia.

Autism is more common than childhood cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

Accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.s. deaths reported in children with autism due to wandering.

 

Angelman Syndrome

ANGLEMAN SYNDROME

Angelman Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system.
Symptoms
  • developmental delay
  • intellectual disability
  • epilepsy
  • microcephaly
  • short attention span
  • happy demeanor
  • hyperactivity
  • hand-flapping
Associated Behaviors
  • tongue thrusting
  • feeding problems during infancy
  • sensitivity to heat
  • frequent drooling
  • attraction to water
Prevalence

Angelman Syndrome  is  a rare disorder and affects 1 in 12,000 to 20,000 a year. Equally to less than 200,000 case a year. Affects all ethnicities and sexes equally.

History

English pediatrician, Dr. Harry Angleman first described Angelman syndrome when he observed 3 children who had similar features including unusual happiness, developmental delays and similar facial disorders. He originally called it the “Happy Puppet Syndrome” based in a 17th century Italian painting by Gian Francesco Coroto.

Causes

In most cases, a gene located on chromosome 15 is generally missing or damaged, in some cases, the individual may have 2 copies of the paternal chromosome 15.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis may include the following:

  • blood test
  • parental DNA pattern
  • missing chromosome testing
  • gene mutation
Treatment

Treatment for Angel Syndrome may include:

  • anti-seizure medication
  • physical therapy
  • communication therapy
  • behavior therapy
Medical Sites

Boston Children’s Hospital

Genetics Home Reference

Mayo Clinic

Medicine Net

Wikipedia

Organizations

Angelman Syndrome Foundation– The mission is to advance the awareness and treatment of Angelman Syndrome through education, information and research.

Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics– FAST is an all volunteer organization of families and professionals dedicated to finding a cure for Angelman Syndrome and related disorders.

 

Developmental Disability Awareness Ribbons

awareness.header

Ribbons have long been used as a way to bring awareness and raise consciousness for a cause. Ribbons and disability awareness has evolved from brining awareness to various disability topics such as sensitivity, core information, inclusion and advocacy to including information in various formats including resources, activities and print information.

Below, you will find awareness ribbons for specific disabilities and the months they are recognized including the links. If you noticed that I missed any, please let me know.

Awareness Ribbons

Autism Awareness Ribbon

Autism

Burgundy  Awareness Ribbon

burgundy-awareness-ribbon Sickle Cell Anemia , Williams Syndrome

Purple Awareness Ribbon

epilepsy ribbonEpilepsy

Down Syndrome

down syndrome ribbonDown Syndrome

Lime Green Ribbon

lime awarenss ribbon Muscular Dystrophy and Spinal Cord Injuries

 

Orange Awareness Ribbon

adhd.ribbonADHD, Multiple Sclerosis, and Sensory Processing Disorder

Lavender Awareness Ribbon
Rett Syndrome

Blue Awareness Ribbon

hydrapany.ribbonApraxia, Cri Du Chat, Hydrocephalus

Light Blue Awareness Ribbon

tuberous.scherous.ribbonTrisomy 18, DiGeorge Syndrome

 Observance  Awareness Months

March

 Trisomy18

Multiple Sclerosis

Cerebral Palsy

Developmental Disabilities

April

Autism

Auditory Processing Disorder

May

Apraxia

Cri Du Chat

Cystic Fibrosis

Williams Syndrome

June

Dravet Syndrome Day

July

Fragile X Syndrome

National Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

September

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Day

Hydrocephalus

Sickle Cell Anemia

Spinal Cord Injuries

October

ADD/ADHD

Down Syndrome

Rett Syndrome

Sensory Processing Disorder

November

DiGeorge Syndrome

Epilepsy

Updated: October 2, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS2015

Special Needs Resource Blog will take a break during the holidays and will return Monday, January 4, 2016 with new information, tools and resources to post including more downloadable free tools and templates Monday thru Thursday. I am excited and look forward to sharing more resources with you in the new year.
Thanks to all of you for following my blog this year. Wishing you and your families joy and peace all through the holidays and throughout the new year. May the spirit of the holidays be with you throughout the new year.  🙂   🙂

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

thanksgiving