Should Children With Autism See a Pediatric Neurologist?

serious-looking older boy standing with arms crossedIf your child has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum, then you’ve probably already seen or been referred to many medical specialists. One these specialists may be a pediatric neurologist. But what does neurology have to do with autism? There are a few different ways that a pediatric neurologist can help aid in your child’s autism treatment.

Why Should My Child See a Pediatric Neurologist?

Pediatric neurologists are specialized doctors that study and treat the brain and nervous system of children. They treat a wide range of conditions related to the central nervous system such as seizures, brain development and muscle function.

Seizures occur more often in in children with autism than in those without it. Some estimates place up to one-third of all people with autism spectrum disorder as also having epilepsy. Epilepsy is a seizure disorder. Seizures occur due to the misfiring of electrical signals in the brain and can cause a loss of awareness and muscle control.

Child neurologists specialize in treating conditions of the brain and nervous system, so they are often a big help to children with autism.

Your child may be recommended to see a neurologist if your doctor suspects they suffer from seizures. If your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, you may also be referred for seizure screening.

How Else Can a Child Neurologist Help?

Your child may also be referred to pediatric neurologist if they are showing signs of developmental problems. Either a slow rate of development compared to peers or a sudden regression are signs that help from a specialist may be needed. Delays in motor skills and speech are often reasons to seek the advice of a neurologist.

Other reasons a child may be referred to a neurologist are a history of prematurity, an abnormally small or large head or if your doctor believes there is a medical cause for your child’s autism, such as a mitochondrial disorder.