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ATN/AIR-P Guides to EEGs for Parents and Providers

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have a higher risk of epilepsy compared to individuals in the general population and are often referred for an electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG is a procedure or test that measures brain activity. This is done by attaching small electrodes to the individual's scalp in order to monitor brain wave activity.

Parents and providers may have concerns or questions about how to help children with ASD successfully complete this procedure. Two tool kits (one for parents and one for providers) are now available and provide information about the EEG procedure, how a child's ASD diagnosis might impact his or her experience, and how to help children with ASD successfully prepare for and complete an EEG.        

Having an Electroencephalogram: A Guide for Parents

EEGs can be difficult for all individuals, but often especially for children and adults with autism. This guide was designed to prepare parents for what they need to do and to understand how they can help their child do well during the procedure. The guide includes visual supports, parent questionnaires to share with the provider, answers to frequently asked questions and much more.

The goals of this tool kit are to:

  • Help parents talk with their child’s doctors and providers about what each person involved in the EEG can expect
  • Lower parent and child anxiety about obtaining EEGs
  • Help the EEG process go faster
  • Help parents feel more confident about helping their child complete an important medical procedure

Click here to download Having an EEG: A Guide for Parents.

Having an Electroencephalogram (EEG): A Guide for Providers

Many EEG technicians may not know much about autism and therefore may not be able to help make the procedure go smoothly and successfully. This guide for providers gives information about ASD, the unique aspects of the diagnosis that are important to consider, ways that parents and caregivers can help prepare their child before the procedure and how to help children and families during the actual EEG.

Sections include:

  • Why does an ASD Diagnosis Matter when a Child Needs to Have an EEG?
  • How Can Staff and Families Collaborate to Improve the EEG Procedure?
  • Understanding Sensory Issues and How to Help Children with ASD Cope
  • Understanding Challenging or Aggressive Behavior

Click here to download Having an EEG: A Guide for Providers.

Click here to see a blog written by developmental child psychologists Lindsay Washington and Terry Katz, co-authors of the EEG tool kits, for a behind-the-scenes look at the makings of these new tools!

"These materials are the product of on-going activities of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, a funded program of Autism Speaks. It is supported by cooperative agreement UA3 MC 11054 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Research Program to the Massachusetts General Hospital. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the MCHB, HRSA, HHS, or Autism Speaks."