Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

Hi, new here,  hope someone can shed some light on my 12 year old Son's symptoms.

He has always been considered as having some ADHD traits, not diagnosed though, and always high functioning.  Has had a lot of strange symptoms that we had pinned down to psychological: seeing things ie. meteors, hearing things like name called, voice like sounds, (never bad though), de ja vue, feeling of electricity going through his body, numbness in lower teeth, occasional occurances of sudden strange vocalisation (but not like a tick) without knowing why, facial grimaces without knowing why, gets angry v easily - always had trouble with concentration, staying on task, remembering instructions or being in trouble for not listening at school.  He is becoming more aware of missing important instructions, and even some time lapses in class, where he actually notices missing time.  He can been seen staring for up to 30 secs, this is noticeable by his friends (who get bothered by it) and us.

Anyway, finally got an EEG done, results are "from the outset of recording, multifocal sharp waves seen in both frontal regions, and over the frontal poles irregular 3-4 and 4-6hz activity is seen.  At times, sharp slow wave discharges spanning both cerebral hemispheres.  Hyperventilation induces slowing to 3-4hz with increasing sharp wave activity seen in both the temporal and parietal regions, spreading in to the frontal poles with sharp slow wave dischares.

 So -as we haven't been able to see the neurologist yet, we are wondering if this could be causing all the other symptoms as well as the Absences.  Or are the visual and auditory disturbances something else? Does anyone have any ideas or comments.  Our Son is otherwise a normal functioning able 12 year old who lives a very normal 12 year old life.

 Thanks for your help



Re: Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

I have two sons (ages 10 & 13) who both have epilepsy.  They have both experienced visual and auditory disturbances...considered sensory seizures (which are a type of simple partial seizure).  My younger son has experienced the feeling of deja vu.  My older son has experienced the numbness in different parts of his body.

I had a hard time finding much information about the sensory seizures, but got helpful information from others on this website.  I don't want to inundate you with too much information about their situations, but please feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I'll be glad to help  if I can. 


Re: Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

Wow, you can't imaging how grateful I am for your reply. I only just found information that confirmed the possibility of sensory seizures, and it all makes so much sense now. In the earlier years, around 8 years old, he started having the visual and auditory distortions/hallucinations, but was too young to tell us about the other smaller things (numbness, tingling etc), but boy did he get some whopper migraines with vomiting. We were always under the assumption that it must of been a psychiatric/psychological problem, but no diagnoses fit him.

We even ended up at Child and Adolescent Mental health for assessment. My GP asked them to do and EEG and they refused, they said it was anxiety. After they closed his case, he had new symptoms, my GP referred to Paed and EEG. In the meantime I had spoken to his case worker and she told me not to drag him around to all types of tests (made me feel like a munchausens mother), so I cancelled my first lot of appointments. Thank god I changed my mind - although it was 4 months later !!!!!!

Well yes it was anxiety, because anxiety exacerbated the episodes. Even when I did decide to do the EEG, i totally thought it was just an elimination process, and never for one minute expected an abnormal result. To think that if I hadn't done one, he may have ended up as a psychiatric patient !!!!!!!!

So, it's kind of strange to be relieved to find out what it is (even though it's epilepsy), most parents would probably be really upset at this point, but we doing "Ahaaaa" moments, LOL! Now that he is older he was able to describe the weird stuff more, and that led us down the right path, thankfully.

We have an appt. with paed neuro in one week. I suppose that means medication too - and I am reading some scary stuff about side effects.

It is so nice to have heard from you, thank you for your help. Are there any other links you can recommend? Did you know about the epilepsy b4 the symptoms or like us, had it the other way around. How do your Sons cope now, are they medicated and what should I know about the meds. Sorry to bombard you, but I am very eager to learn more.


Re: Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

Our older son had motor seizures first so we had a diagnosis prior to understanding all the sensory stuff.  Our younger son has only had the sensory and we only realized they were seizures because of our experience/research with our older son.  Both boys are doing really well currently.  Our 13 year old was diagnosed at age 8 and has been on Trileptal (which didn't work for him), Lamictal (didn't work for him by itself) and now takes a combination of Carbatrol and Lamictal.  He has been on this combination for about 3 years and usually only has seizure activity (auras) when he is sick.  He does very well in school, participates in sports and plays the guitar...pretty normal 13 year old (attitude and all)!  We just got a definite diagnosis for our 10 year old a few months ago (but we knew about a year ago).  He does not take any medication at this time.  His episodes are a lot less severe and less frequent and so we are choosing to hold off for now.  It is a tough decision and one I am sure many would disagree with, but we are doing what we think is best for them both.  He also does well in school and sports. 

I really didn't find much info about the sensory seizures.  The responses I received from the posts here were probably the most helpful.  You could try a search online and see what you find that way.  I even have a book which describes all the different types of seizures and it barely mentioned them. 

As far as the medication goes, just remember that everyone tolerates medications differently and meds that work for some will not work for others.  Our older son got all the way up to 1800 mg of Trileptal per day.  It started making him feel dizzy and nauseous so we went down to 1500 mg which didn't control his seizures.  We had a similar experience with the Lamictal.  There are lots of other out there who had success with these medications so if you choose medication, you may be in a trial and error phase while you figure things out.  He did seem a little slow when he was adjusting to the Trileptal.  I don't remember side effects with the Lamictal.  When he first went on Carbatrol, he was EXTREMELY agitated.  He had just gotten out of the hospital after 5 days and they didn't gradually increase his doseage like they usually would.  They just put him on 600 mg per day and sent us home.  The gradual increase is recommended to give their body time to adjust. 

I hope I didn't forget to answer any of your questions.  If I missed anything, just let me know.  Again, feel free to ask me anything.  It makes it easier to know that there are others out there who can relate.  

Take care,




Re: Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

The Neurologist will explain in detail what is going on w/ your child and your child's brain is still growing until age 21 approximately.  That is something that was told to my family at one time.  My parents were told that.  That decided not to go to a Neurologist, I wish they had stayed.  When I went to college, I ended up working in the field of Neurology.  My abnormality started before I was born.

I had partials, partial-complex and generalized seizures.  I would run, throw-up and my parents would lay me in bed. I would watch tv and throw up especially cartoons. The doctor thought it was the colors because I hated the color red and I would see spots in my seizures.  Cartoons would have red in it.  Crazy things would cause my seizures.  Lights that would go on or off or flicker would make me have a sz once in a while.  Smells of food.  Sounds of music would do it.  As I grew something else would occur.  When I was in my 20's I ran out my shower in my own apt not realizing I had no clothes on and my Neurologist told me to wear a bathing suit when I took a shower.   I would be treated as a normal individual and I grew up that way.  There were times they had challenges.  I pray that you have a good team to help you! 

Take good and patient care

Re: Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

Once you see the Neurologist, make sure he or she explains everything. My daughter is 6 and had an abnormal EEG. All the Dr. did was tell me she was having partial complex seizures in her brain and that he wanted to put her on pills. That was all! Didn't give me a reason, didn't make an effort to explain the test, nothing. Even though I specifically told him she can't swallow pills he insisted on a certain pill for her. She has taken some, but ever since she has become aggressive and aggitated. Not herself at all. I feel like she didn't get the care she needs or deserves. I don't want to see that with your son too.

Make sure they explain everything to you and don't leave until you feel comfortable that you understand what is happening. I wish I had some specific help to provide on his issue, but I felt that you should know not to just accept the Dr. wanting to put him on meds. I think that is sometimes the Dr's easy way out and they don't truely find the problem. Good luck to you.

Re: Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

There are lots of good comments already on here.  In addition to researching "sensory seizures", I'd like to suggest also researching "temporal lobe" or temporolimbic epilepsy (TLE).  These are the old terms.  An interesting old article to have a librarian pull up for you  is "The Riddle of TLE" which appeared the November 1988 edition of The Atlantic. A few quotes from this old article follow:

"TLE is manifested by bizarre sensory and somatic seizures that can be triggered by light and sound.  In some patients TLE is accompanied by hypergraphia, a compulsive urge to write detailed diaries and poems -- and sometimes to draw with similar intensity.  The most common form of epilepsy among adults, TLE is believed to affect 600,000 to a million Americans.  Some doctors speculate that if TLE were properly diagnosed, it might be found to affect one in a hundred adults -- making it an extremely common illness...

Many historical figures may have had TLE, including such religious and political leaders as Moses, Mohammed, Julius Caesar, and Alexander the Great, and such writers as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Lewis Carroll, and Eugene O'Neill... The conversion of another great writer of letters, the Apostle Paul, on the road to Damascus, had several of the hallmarks of a complex partial seizure -- a blinding flash of light, a disembodied voice, and subsequent loss of appetite..."


Re: Abnormal EEG - Absences and other stange symptoms in child

I'm no medical expert , but epilepsy runs in my family. Brother has it , I had it ,my daughter has it , my son has it . Please notice I said I "had" it. All seizures are a form of epilepsy and in my teens I had grand mal seizures with severe memory loss (longest was 38 hours). Every member of my family has weird and different symtoms with it. My daughter has memory loss of varying times , my son has grand mal and is fine within 30 minutes after or can't remember anything for a few hours (I question him afterwards to see if he's "there"). My brother had "staring spells" , grand mal - especially at night, was violent in personality and pretty much drove my poor mom crazy. I'm trying to teach my kids what I did to get rid of the affliction. I was put on phenobarbitol when I was about 17. And it did help. For a while.

When I had my first seizure while I was taking the meds - I did'nt understand why or how that could happen. I started thinking about my brother. Tried to remember what happened on those nights. Tried to remember how he acted the during the day. The more I thought about it -there were warning signs. His eyes would be kind of glassy:bloodshot - my son has the same thing ,so did I. My daughter can't keep her eyes open when hers are coming. The only difference between me and my kids is that I learned to understand signals.  For myself -when one was coming on , I had a strange desire to run. And my eyes were the other signal. I had trouble keeping them open , like my daughter does. But I was on meds and damn it -why was I still having these things? I'm one of those people on a "need to know basis" !!!

So I started reading health books. I read medical books (this was all before internet existed -reading was a virtue). Then I started reading about vitamins ,minerals and nutrition. That's where I struck paydirt. I learned more about the human body and even how my own worked. I learned how certain things like B vitamins , C,D,K the ones your body does not make - played into overall health and how allergies to certain foods could really be devasting to the body. I became my own guinea pig. Changed my diet , certain eating habits (like food with additives). Believe me certain food additives wreak havoc on your brain and body. Not going to go into that unless someone really wants to know.

I sincerely believe that all disease is reversible. Epilepsy included. For now I'm just going to keep on my kids til they understand.