Nigel has never had a seizure*, but I have heard and read over the years that adolescence can bring on seizures in previously seizure-free kids. And the possibility has filled me with fear.
Two years ago, one of my co-workers was running some errands on her lunch break, and she had a seizure while she was backing her car out of her space in a busy parking lot. No one was hurt and there were people around who helped her, but it got me thinking and worrying. What if Nigel had a seizure while riding his bike? Just in the past few months I have become secure enough to let him ride his bike alone around the neighborhood. He craves some independence, and so I hold my breath while he is gone for half an hour, hoping he’ll watch for cars, remember to stop at corners, not run into anyone or anything. Not have a seizure. It’s hard to completely let go like that and just trust.
When my co-worker returned to work the next day, my boss made sure that all of us were informed about what to do if a seizure occured in the office (the co-worker had not previously disclosed that she was epileptic). We learned to not restrain her, and to remove any sharp objects in the area. Afterward, we should lay her on her side to maintain an open airway and prevent inhaling any secretions. We learned that she may experience confusion and that someone should stay with her.
According to Autismuk.com, Roughly 25-30% of autistic adolescents have been reported to develop seizures. That’s too high a percentage for my comfort level. But I guess if Nigel did start having seizures we would just deal with it. We’d do what we needed to do, just like we’ve done all along with every other issue that’s come up.
And I would do what I’m doing now: solicit advice from those who’ve been through it. Are there any readers whose children developed seizures in adolescence? Do your children take any medication for it? Please contribute your experience and suggestions. I appreciate your input.
*UPDATE* Nigel had his first seizure, a grand mal, in June of 2010. He has has many since then and has been diagnosed with epilepsy.