March 9, 2021

Autism Spectrum Disorders and Epilepsy in Children: A Commentary on the Occurrence of Autism in Epilepsy; How It Can Present Differently and the Challenges Associated With Diagnosis

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Autism occurs more frequently in epilepsy, but is often not diagnosed. This could be due to a focus on medical issues, or because it presents differently from classic autism in its timing, phenotype, fluctuating profiles, and high level of comorbidity. Without a diagnosis, these children miss out on interventions that could modify outcome and their families and local teams will struggle to understand and support them. They also become a hidden group that does not participate in or benefit from research.

This paper examined the issues and challenges of diagnosing autism in a population with a high-risk of epilepsy, drawing on more than 20 years’ experience of a specialist multi-disciplinary Developmental Epilepsy Clinic (DEC).

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