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Cognitive impairments and behaviour problems in school age children with epilepsy: identification and intervention

Participants: Brian Neville, Colin Reilly, Patricia Atkinson, Rod Scott, Victoria Burch, Richard Chin, Sarah Aylett, Krishna Das & Christopher Gillberg.

Background: This is the first population-based study that has comprehensively evaluated cognitive impairment, behavior problems, motor problems, and academic achievement in school-age children with active epilepsy. Furthermore, the project also considered factors which contribute to school-based problems in childhood epilepsy. Additional analysis will involve a consideration of factors contributing to quality of life and economic cost in school-age children with active epilepsy.

Methods: 85 children (74% of eligible population) underwent comprehensive psychological assessment to determine the prevalence and spectrum of learning difficulties and behaviour problems. The study was based in Sussex in the south of England.

Main Results:
• 40% of children had IQ score below 70 (IDD) and 55% below 85
• Specific Memory and Processing Speed problems were common
• 42% displayed academic underachievement
• 60% had a DSM-IV behavioural or motor disorder and only 33% of these had previously been diagnosed
• 80% had at least one DSM-IV and/or or cognitive impairment
• 34% had IQ below 85 and 1 or more DSM-IV disorder
• While some epilepsy related factors were associate with IDD Epilepsy-related factors did not independently predict the presence of behavioral disorders


Reilly, C., Atkinson, P., Das, K.B., Chin, R.F., Aylett, S.E., Burch, V., ... Neville, B.G. (2014). Academic achievement in school-aged with active epilepsy: A population-based study, Epilepsia, (Epub ahead of print).

Reilly, C., Atkinson, P., Das, K.B., Chin, R.F., Aylett, S.E., Burch, V., ... Neville, B.G. (2014). Screening for mental health disorders in active childhood epilepsy: Population-based data, Epilepsy Research, (Epub ahead of print).

Reilly, C., Atkinson, P., Menlove, L., Gillberg, C., O'Nions, E., Happé, F., & Neville, B.G. (2014). Pathological Demand Avoidance in a population-based cohort of children with epilepsy: Four case studies. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35, 3236-3244.

Reilly, C., Atkinson, P., Das, K.B., Chin, R.F., Aylett, S.E., Burch, V., ... Neville, B.G. (2014). Neurobehavioral comorbidities in children with active epilepsy: a population-based study. Pediatrics, 133, e1586-1593.

Reilly, C., Kent, E. & Neville. B.G.R. (2013). Psychopathology in Childhood Epilepsy: A review, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 18, 65-75.

Reilly, C.J. (2011). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in childhood epilepsy. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32, 883-893.

Reilly, C., & Ballantine, R. (2011). Epilepsy in school-aged children: more than just seizures? Support for Learning, 26, 144-151.

Reilly, C., & Neville, B.G. (2011). Academic achievement in children with epilepsy: a review. Epilepsy Research, 97, 112-123.

Reilly, C., Agnew, R., & Neville, B.G. (2011). Depression and Anxiety in Childhood epilepsy: A review. Seizure, 20, 589-597.

Page Manager: Anna Spyrou|Last update: 12/3/2014

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