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.
October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. Spina Bifida is a birth defect that affects the spine and the spinal cord. The membranes surrounding the spinal cord do not close properly.
Facts and Statistics
Each year, about 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida.
There is no known cause
Accumulation of fluid in the brain affects 70% of children.
40% of shunts fail or become in affected and need to be changed within a year.
It can happen anywhere along the spine if the neural tube does not close all the way.
Spina Bifida might cause physical and intellectual disabilities that range from mild to severe depending on the size and location of the opening in the spine.
Myelomeningocele is the most serious type of spina bifida.
Spina Bifida can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
Some people with Spina Bifida may never experience symptoms
Spina Bifida occurs between the 3rd and 4th week of pregnancy.
Children with Spina Bifida may have difficulty with math, reading comprehension and learning.
Common challenges to learning include, fine and gross motor skills, spatial orientation, communication difficulties and attention and memory.
Some children with Spina Bifida also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Hispanic women have the highest rate of having a child affected by spina bifida, when compared with non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women. Data from 12 state-based birth defects tracking programs from 1997-2007 were used to estimate the total number of pregnancies affected by spina bifida compared to the total number of live births (also called the prevalence of spina bifida) for each racial/ethnic group:
Hispanic: 3.80 per 10,000 live births
Non-Hispanic black or African-American: 2.73 per 10,000 live births