Identifier

etd-04072017-111955

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that consists of deficits in social communication as well as restricted, repetitive interests or behaviors. Individuals with ASD also often have comorbid psychiatric and medical disorders. One such concern is high rates of seizures and epilepsy. Researchers have found that rates of seizures tend to be higher in individuals with ASD who also have more impaired functioning. However, few studies have examined how the presence of seizures is related to symptoms of ASD. The current study aimed to expand the extant literature by investigating whether a history of seizures is associated with ASD symptomology across different domains (i.e., Socialization/Nonverbal Communication, Restricted Interests/Repetitive Behaviors, Communication), as measured by the BISCUIT-Part 1. Young children with atypical development without a diagnosis of ASD or a history of seizures were found to have the lowest endorsement of overall ASD symptomology as well as across subscales. Individuals with seizures but without an ASD diagnosis had the second lowest scores, followed by individuals with both ASD and seizures. The ASD without a history of seizures group had the highest ASD symptomology scores. These results indicate that, for atypically developing individuals without ASD, a history of seizures was related to higher levels of autism symptomology. Conversely, for young children with ASD, a history of seizures was related to lower endorsement of autism symptoms than those without a history of seizures. These findings support the need for early identification of both ASD and seizure disorders, as both diagnoses have significant implications for treatment. Future directions for research are discussed.

Date

2017

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Matson, Johnny L.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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