Can Autism Cause Epilepsy
From the available evidence, it appears that epilepsy is rarely the cause of autistic features, although when it is, it is important to treat it promptly and effectively. There is no plausible explanation for a link in the other direction in other words, there is no plausible argument for suggesting that autism could cause epilepsy. It seems that the weight of evidence now favors a common underlying cause for both conditions. Broadly speaking, such underlying causes could be divided into genetic and environmental.
What Is The Influence Of Intellectual Disability On The Rate Of Epilepsy In Children With Autism
Amiet et al carried out a meta-analysis on data available from published reports between 1963 and 2006 on autism and epilepsy to assess the relative risk of epilepsy in autism with respect to intellectual disability and gender. More subjects with autism who also had intellectual disability developed epilepsy than those who did not have an intellectual disability . The pooled prevalence of epilepsy was 21.5% in those with autism and intellectual disability, compared with 8% in those with autism who did not have intellectual disability. They also noted that the male:female ratio of autism in those with epilepsy was close to 2:1, compared to a ratio of 3.5:1 in those without epilepsy. This analysis established very clearly that intellectual disability greatly increases the risk of epilepsy in people with autism. It also appeared to show that the rate of epilepsy in people with autism who did not have intellectual disability was higher, that is, 8%, than in the general population, but this figure needs to be interpreted carefully. As already stated, it is highly likely that the IQ distribution of those who have autism but do not have intellectual disability is, nevertheless, shifted to the left, implying that the mean or median IQ would be considerably less than that of the general population and, consequently, the risk of epilepsy would be higher.
Can Diet Have An Impact On Autism
Theres no specific diet designed for autistic people. Nevertheless, some autism advocates are exploring dietary changes as a way to help minimize behavioral issues and increase overall quality of life.
A foundation of the autism diet is the avoidance of artificial additives. These include preservatives, colors, and sweeteners.
An autism diet may instead focus on whole foods, such as:
Some autism advocates also endorse a gluten-free diet. The protein gluten is found in wheat, barley, and other grains.
Those advocates believe that gluten creates inflammation and adverse bodily reactions in certain autistic people. However, scientific research is inconclusive on the relationship between autism, gluten, and another protein known as casein.
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Signs In Girls Vs Boys
It is well documented that more boys than girls are diagnosed with ASD . Girls who do meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD during early childhood tend to have additional problems . This is not the case for boys .
One reason for the discrepancy in diagnosis may be that ASD traits “look different” in girls than in boys. A diagnostic bias toward characteristic ASD traits as they present in boys makes it easy to miss ASD traits as they present in girls . In addition, girls also tend to have fewer and less unusual repetitive stereotyped behaviors than boys .
The following are differences in the playground behaviors of girls and boys with ASD :
Girls with ASD
- stay in closer proximity to their peers and are better able to capitalize on social opportunity,
- spend more time in joint engagement,
- spend more time talking as a primary activity, and
- appear to use compensatory behaviors to gain access into peer groups .
Boys with ASD
- tend to play alone rather than participating in organized games,
- spend more time alone, and
- spend more time wandering as a primary activity.
A second explanation for the discrepancy in diagnosis might be that girls without additional problems are better able to cope with similar levels of ASD traits. They may mask their social challenges by using various compensatory behaviors .
What Role Do Genes Play
Twin and family studies strongly suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism. Identical twin studies show that if one twin is affected, then the other will be affected between 36 to 95 percent of the time. There are a number of studies in progress to determine the specific genetic factors associated with the development of ASD. In families with one child with ASD, the risk of having a second child with the disorder also increases. Many of the genes found to be associated with autism are involved in the function of the chemical connections between brain neurons . Researchers are looking for clues about which genes contribute to increased susceptibility. In some cases, parents and other relatives of a child with ASD show mild impairments in social communication skills or engage in repetitive behaviors. Evidence also suggests that emotional disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia occur more frequently than average in the families of people with ASD.
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Tip : Create A Personalized Autism Treatment Plan
With so many different treatments available, it can be tough to figure out which approach is right for your child. Making things more complicated, you may hear different or even conflicting recommendations from parents, teachers, and doctors.
When putting together a treatment plan for your child, keep in mind that there is no single treatment that works for everyone. Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses.
Your childs treatment should be tailored according to their individual needs. You know your child best, so its up to you to make sure those needs are being met. You can do that by asking yourself the following questions:
What are my childs strengths and their weaknesses?
What behaviors are causing the most problems? What important skills is my child lacking?
How does my child learn best through seeing, listening, or doing?
What does my child enjoy and how can those activities be used in treatment and to bolster learning?
Finally, keep in mind that no matter what treatment plan is chosen, your involvement is vital to success. You can help your child get the most out of treatment by working hand-in-hand with the treatment team and following through with the therapy at home.
What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:
- Autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
- Asperger syndrome.
People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:
- Inflexible interests.
- Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
- Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
- Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.
How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.
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What Is The Difference Between Autism And Adhd
Autism and ADHD are sometimes confused with one another.
Children with an ADHD diagnosis consistently have issues with fidgeting, concentrating, and maintaining eye contact with others. These symptoms are also seen in some autistic people.
Despite some similarities, ADHD isnt considered a spectrum disorder. One major difference between the two is that people with ADHD dont tend to lack socio-communicative skills.
If you think your child may be hyperactive, talk with their doctor about possible ADHD testing. Getting a clear diagnosis is essential to ensure that your child is receiving the right treatment.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is no clear-cut cause of ASD. Some causes that are supported by research include genetic and some environmental factors. Specific genetic causes can only be identified in 10% to 20% of cases. These cases include specific genetic syndromes associated with ASD and rare changes in the genetic code.
Risk factors include older parental age, low birth weight, prematurity and maternal use of valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy, among others. This field of study is an active one for reasearch.
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Clinical Development And Diagnoses
Leo Kannerearly infantile autism
The word autism first took its modern sense in 1938 when Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital adopted Bleuler’s terminology autistic psychopaths in a lecture in German about child psychology. Asperger was investigating an ASD now known as Asperger syndrome, though for various reasons it was not widely recognized as a separate diagnosis until 1981.Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital first used autism in its modern sense in English when he introduced the label early infantile autism in a 1943 report of 11 children with striking behavioral similarities. Almost all the characteristics described in Kanner’s first paper on the subject, notably “autistic aloneness” and “insistence on sameness”, are still regarded as typical of the autistic spectrum of disorders. It is not known whether Kanner derived the term independently of Asperger.
Kanner’s reuse of autism led to decades of confused terminology like infantile schizophrenia, and child psychiatry’s focus on maternal deprivation led to misconceptions of autism as an infant’s response to “refrigerator mothers“. Starting in the late 1960s autism was established as a separate syndrome.
Symptoms Of Atypical Autism
Symptoms of atypical autism tend to be milder than many people with autism experience. As with all types of ASD, atypical autism likely includes difficulties with social communication. The symptoms may include:
- Atypical or inappropriate social behavior
- Difficulty with fine or large motor skills, visual or spatial organization, or cognitive skills
- Delays in speech or language comprehension
- Difficulty with transitions
- Deficits in nonverbal and/or verbal communication
- Increased or decreased sensitivities to taste, sight, sound, smell and/or touch
- Repetitive or ritualistic behaviors
Children with atypical autism, like those with any form of ASD, can have a wide range of intellectual and verbal abilities. They also may have severe symptoms in one area, perhaps communication, but don’t have problems with another symptom like repetitive behaviors.
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Tip : Find Help And Support
Caring for a child with ASD can demand a lot of energy and time. There may be days when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or discouraged. Parenting isnt ever easy, and raising a child with special needs is even more challenging. In order to be the best parent you can be, its essential that you take care of yourself.
Dont try to do everything on your own. You dont have to! There are many places that families of children with ASD can turn to for advice, a helping hand, advocacy, and support:
ADS support groups Joining an ASD support group is a great way to meet other families dealing with the same challenges you are. Parents can share information, get advice, and lean on each other for emotional support. Just being around others in the same boat and sharing their experience can go a long way toward reducing the isolation many parents feel after receiving a childs diagnosis.
Respite care Every parent needs a break now and again. And for parents coping with the added stress of ASD, this is especially true. In respite care, another caregiver takes over temporarily, giving you a break for a few hours, days, or even weeks.
Autism Screening And Diagnosis
It can be hard to get a definite diagnosis of autism. Your doctor will focus on behavior and development.
For children, diagnosis usually takes two steps.
- A developmental screening will tell your doctor whether your child is on track with basic skills like learning, speaking, behavior, and moving. Experts suggest that children be screened for these developmental delays during their regular checkups at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months of age. Children are routinely checked specifically for autism at their 18-month and 24-month checkups.
- If your child shows signs of a problem on these screenings, theyâll need a more complete evaluation. This might include hearing and vision tests or genetic tests. Your doctor might want to bring in someone who specializes in autism disorders, like a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist. Some psychologists can also give a test called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule .
If you werenât diagnosed with autism as a child but notice yourself showing signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor.
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Fda Cracks Down On False Claims
The Food and Drug Administration has warned and/or taken action against a number of companies that have made improper claims about their products intended use as a treatment or cure for autism or autism-related symptoms. Some of these so-called therapies carry significant health risks. For example,
FDA some quick tips to help you identify false or misleading claims.
- Be suspicious of products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases.
- Personal testimonials are no substitute for scientific evidence.
- Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of any therapy claimed as a quick fix.
- So-called miracle cures, which claim scientific breakthroughs or contain secret ingredients, are likely a hoax.
If you have a question about treatment, talk to a health care provider who specializes in caring for people with ASD.
Who Is More Likely To Develop Autism
Boys are diagnosed with autism four times more often than girls. One in 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with ASD, and this spans all races, regions, and socio-economic statuses. Approximately 40% of those diagnosed with autism are non-verbal. About 25%-30% of children with autism may speak some words around age 12 to 18 months, but then lose them. Others may gain the ability to speak later in childhood.
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What Are The Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Signs of ASD range from mild to severely disabling, and every person is different. The following signs are considered to be red flags that indicate your young child may be at risk for autism. If your child shows any of the following signs, please get in touch with your childs healthcare provider to discuss a referral for an autism evaluation.
The signs include the following:
- Your child doesnt respond to their name being called at all or responds inconsistently.
- Your child doesnt smile widely or make warm, joyful expressions by the age of 6 months.
- Your child doesnt engage in smiling, making sounds and making faces with you or other people by the age of 9 months.
- Your child doesnt babble by 12 months.
- No back-and-forth gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
- No words by 16 months.
- No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months.
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.
Red Flags And Clinical Presentations Of Asd
Overt behavioural signs of ASD are not generally present in the first 6 months of life. Prospective studies of high-risk infants suggest an emerging ASD prodrome in the latter half of the first year of life, which may include delayed motor control , feeding and sleeping difficulties, and/or excessive reactivity or passivity .
Symptoms in the core domains of ASD usually emerge between 12 and 24 months. Initial presentations vary, and there is no one behavioural sign that rules an ASD diagnosis in or out. Parents initial concerns may include language delay, lack of response when the childs name is said, and limited eye contact.
Other early warning signs at different stages of development are summarized in Table 3. Children with ASD may appear relatively typical with respect to early social engagement and communication, then become withdrawn or lose communication or language skills by 18 months . For some children with more advanced language and cognitive skills, ASD signs are relatively subtle in the early years but become more apparent as they reach school age and begin to struggle with increasing social demands .
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Effective Dosing With Minimum Side
An important challenge for clinicians is to identify treatments that have a suitably balanced safety and efficacy profile. The effective dose with minimum side-effects is the dose that achieves acceptable improvement of symptoms with minimum adverse effects . Experience in the Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology and Rare Diseases has shown that medication should usually be initiated in small doses , increasing about every five to six half-lives of the drug. In practice, for many drugs this is 37 days, with certain exceptions. It may require 46 weeks of titration to identify the most effective dose with minimum side-effects . Fluoxetine liquid for anxiety or low mood, for example, might be initiated at 24 mg once a day, increased by 24 mg roughly every 78 days because of its long half-life and increments made until the optimal dose is reached. This strategy needs to be discussed fully with the family and the patient. Feedback from the family to evaluate both the beneficial and adverse effects is vital .
Why Was The New Edition Needed
The American Psychiatric Association periodically updates the DSM to reflect new understanding of mental health conditions and the best ways to identify them.
The goals for updating the criteria for diagnosing autism included:
- More accurate diagnosis
- Identification of symptoms that may warrant treatment or support services
- Assessment of severity level
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Etiology And Risk Factors
The etiology of ASD is not completely understood, though recent findings suggest an interplay among genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors . Strong risk factors for ASD include male sex and positive family history. Recurrence risk estimates for younger siblings of children with ASD range from 7% to 19% versus 1.5% in the general population . Recurrence varies by degree of familial relatedness. One recent Swedish study indicated a tenfold increase in relative risk when a full sibling has been diagnosed with ASD, as compared with a twofold increase when a cousin is affected . Other risk factors are summarized in Table 2. The mechanisms associated with environmental exposure and ASD may include inflammation, oxidative stress, endocrine disruption and may be influenced by gene-related effects .