Epilepsy is a neurological disease that involves the brain’s neurons misfiring, causing seizures and sometimes unconsciousness. According to the World Health Organisation, it affects 50 million people worldwide and is therefore amongst the most common of all neurological disorders. With the right diagnosis and treatment, up to 70% of epilepsy could live without seizures. The causes of epilepsy are wide-ranging, from head injuries to brain tumours.

Epilepsy is a frequently co-occurring condition for autistic people and, alongside that, a high number of epileptics are also found to be autistic – one diagnosis can precede the other. This co-morbidity has been an area of research since the 1960s and there is still no definitive explanation as to what the connection is. There is absolutely no indication, in any respectable research study, that autism does not cause epilepsy and epilepsy does not cause autism.

Autistic people with severe learning (intellectual) disabilities are most at risk (40% chance) from epilepsy and those autistics with no co-occurring learning disability are least at risk (4% chance), within the autistic population, though neurodivergent people have a much higher incidence of epilepsy than neurotypical people.

Here’s more information from the National Autistic Society, with further links to epilepsy charities.