Evaluation of the clinical characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy and the perception of their parents on quality of life

Epilepsy Res. 2021 May;172:106599. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2021.106599. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Abstract

Background and aim: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is among the serious clinical pictures of early childhood, and its main symptoms are qualitative dysfunction in social interactions with impairment of verbal and nonverbal communication and limitations in interests and activities.

Methods: This study aimed to examine the clinical conditions that mediate this comorbidity, compare parental quality of life in isolated ASD and ASD with epilepsy, demonstrate the relationships between clinical and EEG findings obtained in diagnostic evaluation, and examine the results in light of the literature.

Results: The study sample consisted of 154 ASD patients; 26 were girls (16.9 %) and 128 (83.1 %) were boys. Of the patients with epilepsy, seizures were focal in 14 patients (9.1 %), generalized in 9 patients (5.8 %), and unspecified in 1 patient (0.6 %). Intellectual ability was found to be a significant predictor of epilepsy diagnosis. Mean (SD) total scores in the Quality of Life in Autism Questionnaire were 131.84 (10.68) among mothers of children with ASD-epilepsy and 148.33 (14.03) among mothers of children with ASD alone (P < .001).

Conclusion: Many psychiatric and medical conditions can co-occur with ASD. Determining the prognostic criteria for ASD is of great importance in coordinating lifelong autism rehabilitation. Improving autism-specific symptoms will benefit children with ASD as well as help mitigate parental anxiety.

Keywords: Autism; Childhood epilepsy; Parental quality of life.