United Kingdom Research and Innovation, Medical Research Council and King's College London

Early-onset neurodevelopmental disorders

Intellectual disabilities, autism and many forms of epilepsy arise in childhood and are therefore considered early-onset neuro­developmental conditions.

Autism includes a wide spectrum of individual realities. This is why the medical name for autism is autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some autistic people have average or above-average intelligence and need little or no support to live a normal life. For them, it is obvious that being autistic is not an illness or disease. There are, however, many autistic people with intellectual disabilities and, very frequently, accompanying conditions such as epilepsy. People with profound autism require constant support even to do the simplest things, so they need help from a parent or carer every day.

Although epilepsy is frequently associated with ASD, most people that suffer from epilepsy are not autistic. However, many children suffering from epilepsy require ongoing treatment to prevent seizures from disrupting their daily activities.

Our research on early-onset neuro­developmental conditions focuses on understanding the causes of profound autism and its most frequent co-occurring conditions, such as intellectual disability and epilepsy.

Meet the scientists working on early onset neurodevelopmental disorders

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