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Routine developmental and autism screening in an epilepsy care setting

Fisher, B.; Dezort, C.; Nordli, D. R.; Berg, A. T.

Epilepsy Behav. 2012 Jul 14; 24(4):488-92


Developmental delay (delay) and co-morbidities like autism are common in children with epilepsy. We assessed the yield of routine screening for delay and autism in a hospital-based program. Parents completed developmental and autism screeners for 65 children (average age=2.5y; 38(58%) boys). Forty-nine (75%) were established epilepsy patients, and 16 (25%) were new patients. For development, 47 (72%) children screened positive and 8 (12%) had borderline results. Twenty-four (37%) scored positive for autism, all of whom also screened positive for developmental delay. Delays and neurologic deficits accounted for the positive autism results in 20 of the 24. Developmental findings were confirmatory (already receiving services) in 32/55 (58%) children and actionable in 17 (31%) (requiring further evaluation). Referrals for further evaluations were made for most with actionable findings. The yield of routine screening of children in a tertiary center is sufficiently high to support its use and to consider screening of all children seen with epilepsy.

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