Seizures in Children with Autism


Seizures in Children with Autism

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One of the most frightening experiences of autism for parents is the reality of seizures. Some ASD children have febrile seizures in early childhood; others develop childhood seizures that they may grow out of; one in four with autism may experience seizures at the onset of puberty; a small group has late adult onset of seizures; and still others develop Landau-Kleffner, a syndrome with similar symptoms as ASD, but with seizure-like discharge. Seizures are the leading cause of death in adults with ASD. Therefore, no matter what type of seizure your child may be experiencing or at what age, seizures may be life threatening, usually require anti-convulsive drug treatment, do not always have a known cause, often times improve with the Ketogenic or Modified Atkin’s Diet, and possibly require CBD cannabis oil when not controlled by medication (if legally permitted).

Although it may be very clear your child is having a seizure, in some cases the subtle symptoms of seizures are very similar to the abnormal behaviors of ASD. For instance, your child may have staring episodes, motor tics, aggressive, self-injurious, and stereotyped behaviors that may or may not be seizures; however, to be on the safe side it is best to discuss your concerns with a neurologist who specializes in seizure disorders. Neurologists may strongly recommend an overnight electroencephalogram (24 hour EEG) in order to be able to monitor in a 24 hour period any seizure activity going on in the brain that a one-time EEG is not able to show.

There have been cases where ASD children with seizures have been treated for underlying biomedical conditions and parents have found that the seizures either stopped entirely or were much less frequent after treatment. Some of the biomedical conditions may include the following: low cholesterol, excitotoxicity, low levels of Vitamin D3, elevated testosterone and other androgens, fatty acid imbalances, malabsorption of fats, insomnia, low levels of electrolytes and low blood sugar levels in the brain. Parents can consult with their child’s doctor with regards to further testing on any of the above issues. In addition, keep in mind that the brain is 95% fat so include good quality nutritional fats and supplemental fatty acids in your child’s diet. Some therapies such as Neurobiofeedback and acupuncture may also help attenuate seizure activity in some individuals.
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Related Sites

The Epilepsy Foundation
Description:  The Epilepsy Foundation website has an abundance of information on how to understand, medically, what epilepsy is and everything you need to know about epilepsy. The site will provide information on how to find help and get connected.

Children United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)
Description:  This site from CURE Epilepsy provides a wide range of resources on epilepsy and/or seizures in autism.

The Autism Research Institute
Description:  The Autism Research Institute provides information for autism families on seizures and puberty (article) and seizures with a video on Neurological Comorbidities and Autism Spectrum Disorder with Margaret Bauman from Boston University Medical Center.

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation for Adult Autism
Description:  The DJ Fiddle Foundation focuses on adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorders. They provide information regarding autism, epilepsy and seizures – how to recognize the signs and basic first aid when you do.


The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be by Martha Herbert, MD, and Karen Weintraub
Description:  Dr. Martha Herbert is a Harvard trained neurologist who offers great strategies for parents in her book the Autism Revolution. She gives many clues to underlying problems such as seizures with ASD and provides nutritional and environmental recommendations.

Raising Brandon: Parenting My Son to Live Successfully with Autism, Epilepsy, and Learning Disorders by Amalia Starr
Description:  This book is a manual for parents and caregivers of children and adults with autism and special needs, and provides information, education, and offers hope.

The Dark Side of Autism: Struggling to Find Peace and Understanding When Life’s Not Full of Rainbows, Unicorns and Blessings by Angela Berg-Dallara
Description:  The author and parent, Angela, talks frankly and freely about the difficulties raising a non-verbal child with autism and seizure disorder. It’s a great book for parents to learn how to cope and gain a new insight into life’s difficulties with autism and epilepsy.

Silently Seizing: Common, Unrecognized, and Frequently Missed Seizures and Their Potentially Damaging Impact on Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Carin Hanes, R.N.
Description:  Carin Hanes describes the journey with her 2 year old son with autism into his late teens suffering from seizures that were never diagnosed. She identifies the seizure-autism connection, gives tips for diagnosing and treating seizures and helps parents better understand their child’s behaviors.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet
Description:  This fact sheet provides for parents all the pertinent information on Autism and comorbidity with seizures disorder: what seizures are; what are the treatment protocols; what to do during a seizure; puberty and seizures; and living with autism and epilepsy.

Dr. Richard Frye: Seizures and Mitochondria Disorders
Description:  Dr. Richard Frye, MD, PhD, a pediatric neurologist specializing in Mitochondria Disorders, seizures and ASD practices at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. He outlines all the specific information on the seizures and mitochondria disorder which is very similar to seizures and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The Autism File (February 2016): Seizures in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Description:  This issue of the Autism File provides the latest up-to-date information on symptoms, and treatment of seizures in ASD.

Ted Talks: A Second Opinion on Developmental Disorders
Description:  Developmental disorders in children are typically diagnosed by observing behavior, but Aditi Shankardass suggests we should be looking directly at brains. She explains how one EEG technique has revealed mistaken diagnoses and transformed children’s lives.

Parent Tips on Autism and Seizures
Description:  Parent tips provides much useful information on what are seizures, what diagnostic procedures are available, the link between autism and seizures, and what type of doctors assist with autism and seizures.

Seizures in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Description:  This write-up provides specific information for parents concerning seizure, types, ASD seizures, causes of seizures in ASD, treatment of seizures in ASD and a guide to Antiepileptic Drugs (AED) and their adverse effects.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  Epilepsy Seizure Support Group
Description:  This Facebook page provides support to those with epilepsy and seizures.

Forum/Blog Name:  Epilepsy Support for Kids
Description:  This Facebook page is for children and parents that are affected by epilepsy, and offers a forum to ask questions, meet new people and find support.

Forum/Blog Name:  My Child Has Epilepsy (Facebook Forum Which Includes Children With Special Needs)
Description:  Support forum for those with or affected by epilepsy. Also any special needs (ADHD, Autism Spectrum, etc.).

Forum/Blog Name:  Autism Comorbidity
Description:  This Yahoo Group is for those and their loved ones that have an autism spectrum disorder and a comorbid disorder, like epilepsy and seizures.