Did you know that November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month? If you didn’t before, then you do now. The theme for the 2010 National Epilepsy Awareness Month is Get Seizure Smart.
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There are several different types of epilepsy and epilepsy is one of the comorbid conditions that can be found in children on the autism spectrum. My oldest child is on the autism spectrum and he also has epilepsy. In his case, he has been diagnosed with complex partial seizure disorder.
Here’s a bit of information about complex partial seizures from the Epilepsy Foundation:
‘During a complex partial seizure, a person cannot interact normally with other people.’
Complex partial seizures affect a larger area of the brain than simple partial seizures and they affect consciousness.
During a complex partial seizure, a person cannot interact normally with other people, is not in control of his or her movements, speech or actions; doesn’t know what he or she is doing; and cannot remember afterwards what happened during the seizure.
Although someone may appear to be conscious because he or she remains standing with eyes open and moving about, it will be an altered consciousness - a dreamlike, almost trancelike state.
A person may even be able to speak, but the words are unlikely to make sense and he or she will not be able to respond to others in an appropriate way.
Alexander’s seizures have presented in a variety of ways including wandering, bicycling of his legs while sleeping, agitation and behavioral outbursts and even hallucinations. Last year about this time he was hallucinating (spiders) and it was very debilitating for him and scary for everyone around him. We finally got him on the right mix of medication and he was seizure free for almost a year. Unfortunately he has had two seizures in the past week so we’re trying to figure out what might have changed to cause the sudden onset of seizures again.
So there’s my little story about how epilepsy has affected our family. If you’d like to learn more, visit the National Epilepsy Awareness Month website.