Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC)
Autism affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people and how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
It is not unusual for Dravet patients to receive a secondary diagnosis of autism. More than half of people with Dravet Syndrome report some characteristics of autism.
This association between autism and Dravet Syndrome is most likely because the two conditions have underlying genes or brain functions in common, such as an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory signals in the brain.
As autism and Dravet Syndrome are both spectrum conditions, symptoms will vary considerably, with some children and adults perhaps showing mild autistic traits through to others having a full diagnosis of profound autism. Individuals with Dravet Syndrome often display communication and social difficulties and it can be useful to be referred to an ASC specialist if you are at all concerned.