Epilepsy Foundation

First, this question is about my 19 month old who has been diagnosed with partial epilepsy, both complex and simple.

 

I'm hoping this does not sound crazy, but I know that depressive disorders are more common in people with epilepsy, and that depression can be an aura.  But can the opposite be true, too?

 

I've noticed slowly with my son that on days he is in REALLY good moods, (these moods can last just a few hours or all day) where everything is hilarious and he is just way happier than normal that he goes through short periods where his body gets tense and his arms shake, and his hands twirl.  He is usually seemingly happy during this time, but I can't say for sure if he is responsive or not.

 

I've assumed this is just him being silly because he is so happy, but the way that his arms kind of jerk randomly and his wrists swivel it just doesn't appear to be a normal pattern of movement.  He never does this when he is in a normal mood or poor mood.  However, the abnormal movement pattern could also be because of something else going on...at 19 months old, he still can't push himself up with his arms, he just lays flat. (he can however, pick up things, aims correctly when grabbing- this is something we are trying to figure out still)  He also seems to be staring off into space while doing it, It also seems a bit like he is holding his breath when he is doing this?

Because of some other developmental issues he has, sometimes it is very hard to get him to respond even when he isn't having a seizure.

 

The only reason I am wondering if it could be a seizure is that it only happens during certain moods, and because his trunk seems to get stiff as well.  Any thoughts, opinions, would be greatly appreciated.

 

Mostly I am wondering if it could be seizure activity causing these euphoric type moods.

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Yes, seizures can cause feelings of euphoria, but what you are describing, to me sounds like it could be behavior of a child with autism or other condition where there is significant sensory issues. The twirling of the wrists, breath holding, staring, tense body, non-responsive for no apparent reason are all things I have seen in children with autism.

 

Has he been evaluated for this yet? I know he is on the young side, but some medical professionals have a much better understand of autism and related disorders even in the very young.

Not sure though that not being able to push himself up yet fits ASD though. Has he had an MRI? Is there any damage to the brain anywhere?

 

J

 

Hello-

He hasn't been tested for autism, while he does have some of the similar symptoms, he doesn't fit the mold well at all, according to docs.  His lack of being able to tell if he is responsive is because he has BAD vision, and it's hard to tell what he is looking at, and how well he can even see. I realize that I explained the hand moving behavior similar to an autistic child, and "flapping", its really not like that, but not sure how else to describe it.  The twirling of the hands, body tense, etc only happens for about 10 seconds, and ONLY when he is in this euphoric mood. 

So, during these "periods of euphoria", he is happy the whole time, weather it be hours, day, whatever.  The hand twirling, tensing, episodes only last about 10 seconds, but happen several times, (every hour or so?) that the GREAT mood is going on? 

Although his docs have been wrong before, they do not seem to think he is autistic.  This is an area I've asked about quite a few times, for reasons unrelated to his hand-thing.

I wish I had better track of my video camera so I could figure these out better.  Anyways, I do plan on talking to the Neurologist about this, but thought I'd see how crazy I sounded first!!

 

jjbeck said:

Yes, seizures can cause feelings of euphoria, but what you are describing, to me sounds like it could be behavior of a child with autism or other condition where there is significant sensory issues. The twirling of the wrists, breath holding, staring, tense body, non-responsive for no apparent reason are all things I have seen in children with autism.

 

Has he been evaluated for this yet? I know he is on the young side, but some medical professionals have a much better understand of autism and related disorders even in the very young.

Not sure though that not being able to push himself up yet fits ASD though. Has he had an MRI? Is there any damage to the brain anywhere?

 

J

 

Changes in mood - up or down- are associated with epilepsy, esp of the temporal lobe. The changes in behaviour between seizures for days at a time has not been well studied and little is formally known. Hope this helps.

Who are you asking re the autism? Many docs say no early on.

It is important to find someone who really gets it (which may be difficult depending on where you live).

You can even join a parents group and ask them.

RE: the hand twirling, I was not thinking of the hand flapping, but actual twirling. I have seen this with the hands, fingers etc. Along with giddyness while  doing it. These are stims ... and  these types of things can occur as sensory issues in other dev disorders beside autism.

 

It is good though to capture some of these events on video.

 

J

 

Haha, you asked who all I had asked about autism, so I hope you have a few minutes to read:)

We have had him evaluated by the AEA, (early access) and although they can't give a diagnosis, they don't seem to think so (from the aea, this includes a "teacher" occupational therapist, and physical therapist"

I've gone to a specialty health clinic to get a quicker referral to a center for disabilities and development, the center for disabilities and development, a developmental pediatrician, and a neurologist!

And because autism is such a prevelant issue today, and because none of the several doctors we've been too (trust me I've asked them all, because he does have some things that remind me of it) I'm just going to believe all of them when they say theres probably not autism.

Plus, I know I already said it, but the hand twirling thing only happens when he is doing this stiffness, arm shaking that, and that only happens on the "eurphoria" type days.  Hmm, I don't know what to think...but since day care brought a new issue up to me today, I guess I'm just going to litter the forum and ask a new question about that!
jjbeck said:

Who are you asking re the autism? Many docs say no early on.

It is important to find someone who really gets it (which may be difficult depending on where you live).

You can even join a parents group and ask them.

RE: the hand twirling, I was not thinking of the hand flapping, but actual twirling. I have seen this with the hands, fingers etc. Along with giddyness while  doing it. These are stims ... and  these types of things can occur as sensory issues in other dev disorders beside autism.

 

It is good though to capture some of these events on video.

 

J

 

Just a little note - excitement appears to have been a trigger for my dd in her very early years (now 5ys-Dravet dx). She would laugh & giggle & then go into a complex partial that would quickly generalize to a tonic clonic. Now that I know more, I question whether that laughter may have been a gelastic seizure...who knows? The stiffening sounds suspicious of sz activity, but I would think your best bet is the EEG.

I hope you get some definitive results asap so you can treat if/as necessary!

“Hello, this is Mary Ann, an Information Specialist with the Epilepsy Resource Center. The Resource Center provides information about epilepsy, community referral information for support and assistance, and literature resources to increase understanding of the condition and improve management of the condition. I am very interested in learning more about the needs of the community and providing support through participating in this discussion.”

M Thornton
The Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Resource Center

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