Autism and Epilepsy

Children with epilepsy are at an increased risk of having autism although it is not fully understood what the relationship between the two conditions is.

There is a connection between autism, learning disabilities and epilepsy.

The treatment for people with epilepsy and autism will be the same as for a person who does not have autism, but steps will be taken to make any testing needed to confirm epilepsy as stress free as possible. The epilepsy medicine that you will be offered will be the same as for a person without autism.

Other conditions associated with epilepsy

Some children have ‘epilepsy syndrome's’. These are other signs or symptoms that happen together and are unique medical conditions themselves.

Benign Rolandic epilepsy – affects about 15% of children and starts between the ages of 3 and 10. Children will have few seizures and are usually seizure free by 16.

Childhood absence epilepsy – affects about 12% of children and starts between the ages of 4 and 10. About 90% of children will grow out of this epilepsy by 12 years old.

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy – usually starts between 12 and 18 years old, seizures usually happen after they wake up, often triggered by tiredness but in 40% of cases are triggered by flashing lights.

Infantile spasms (West syndrome) – often start in their first year of life after a brain injury that happened before 6 months. Often, they will develop behaviour or learning difficulties.

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – usually starts between 3 and 5 years old but can start later. They will often also have learning difficulties and behaviour problems. They often need to be treated with a combination of medicines.