Question: My son was 2 when I noticed his 1st “seizure” right before falling aspleep during a car ride. I have recorded his episodes and took the recording to show it to his doctor. Right away the doctor said it is a seizure and sent us for a sleep deprived EEG. The EEG came back normal.
So, as per doctor, this is what he does before falling asleep and he will grow out of it. It’s been 1 year since the first episode and they still continue on daily basis. Problem is that it truely looks like he is having seizure (eyes rolling back, uncontrollable hands and legs movement, heavy breathing) but as soon i call his name he stops and he is aware what he was doing, and it only happens right before falling asleep.Should I ask the doctor to send him for a sleep test? I have read that some children after receiving flu shot developed some types of sleep disorders, and my sons episodes started 2 weeks after receiving flu shot. Any suggestions? Please help.

Answer: Hi Kathy, While I don’t think I know enough myself about what your son is experiencing to comment much, I might be able to point you in direction that could be helpful. Have you looked into the symptom cataplexy? It lines up with a couple of the things you describe–mainly inability to control limbs and possible reversal upon hearing name, a loud noise, or other stimulus. Cataplexy is a symptom of the neurological condition narcolepsy. What’s more, narcolepsy is an auto-immune disorder, so an impetus such as a flu vaccine could trigger it out of its dormant state.Much of what scientists know about narcolepsy comes from the study of dogs with the condition at Stanford University. Here is cataplexy being demonstrated by the pup of the world’s leading narcolepsy researcher, Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, who still works at Stanford and gives lectures occasionally in our Sleep and Dreams class. You’ll notice that his dog, Bear, often reverses his cataplexy and comes back to attention when the filmer whistles. Perhaps something similar is happening when you call out your son’s name.Again, I’m not sure if this would accurately describe what your son is experiencing, but at least looking into narcolepsy and perhaps mentioning it to your doctor may be helpful. I truly wish you and your son all the best.

Thanks for your question and good luck,
Kevin