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Autism Symptoms and Seizures

April 15, 2013
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often discussed but rarely understood. In an effort to raise awareness about this widespread mental condition, Disability Living is highlighting 10 topics related to autism that are often overlooked. In this blog post, we attempt to explore how seizures are one of the most telling symptoms of ASD.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness Disability Living Autism Symptoms and Seizures

Autism and Epilepsy

There is a proven connection between autism and epilepsy. While only one percent of the general population is diagnosed with either condition, Autism Speaks reports 20 to 40 percent of individuals who have some degree of autism also have epilepsy, and five percent of children inflicted with seizures are later diagnosed with ASD.

Autism Symptoms and Seizures

It is safe to say individuals with any degree of autism have heightened risk of developing epilepsy or suffering from frequent seizures. Unfortunately, autism in adults and children can often mask the symptoms of seizures, meaning it can be difficult to know whether or not an individual with an autism diagnosis is suffering from these debilitating attacks.

Research concerning the connection between autism and epilepsy is ongoing, but most people seem unaware that one can cause the other, or how to monitor whether or not an individual with autism diagnosis is silently struggling with seizures.

What Causes Seizures

Like ASD, seizures come in all shapes and sizes. They are often considered a spectrum disorder, just like autism. When nerve cells in the brain fail to communicate properly, a seizure can occur. The effects of a seizure can range from subtle to disabling. If a minor epileptic episode takes place, it may be challenging for a person with autism to communicate, or even understand, the sensation he or she experiences. Regardless, the impacts effect the individual and immediate medical attention should be given to anyone who appears to have suffered a seizure.

Autism Diagnosis vs. Seizures

One way to find out whether or not your loved one is suffering from seizures is with an EEG test. Because it is common for an autism diagnosis to be based on symptoms alone, discovering whether or not electroencephalogram abnormalities exist can become a key indicator as to what role seizures play in the development and worsening of autism symptoms. With the support and guidance of medical professionals, knowing how to monitor seizures in children and adults with autism is possible.

If you are not sure whether an adult or child you care for has regular seizures as a result of autism, it may be wise to consult a physician or specialist.

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