Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Toddlers

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Temporal lobe epilepsy in toddlers

The misfiring of nerve cells in the brain’s temporal lobe causes seizures. Toddlers may show unconscious behaviors such as smacking their lips repeatedly, hand-rubbing, and staring, among other things. Temporal lobe epilepsy in toddlers can be traced back to multiple potential causes like accidents, deformities in the brain, brain tumors, and so on.

Disruptions in the temporal lobe of the brain may affect speech formation, visual interpretation, and a few more functions associated with that area. Find out more about temporal lobe epilepsy in toddlers, and what are the symptoms and treatment options for it, in this article.

In This Article

What is Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Toddlers?

Epilepsy is a form of brain disorderthat disrupts the normal functioning of the brain cells. It causes seizures, abnormal behavior or feelings, and at times a loss of conscious state. Temporal lobe epilepsy is one such type out of twenty types of epilepsy.

The temporal lobe region of the brain is where temporal lobe epilepsy originates from. The human brain has two temporal lobes located behind the temples ( area between the eyes and the ears). In toddlers, the symptoms often manifest as staring at a blank space, and exhibiting unusual behavior, among other things which you’ll find out below.

Different Types of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Toddlers

Different types of epilepsy

Temporal lobe epilepsy is classified into two categories-

Mesial (around the middle) Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (MTLE)-

About 80 percent of this form of epilepsy has its roots in the mesial temporal lobe. The seizures emerge from or near the hippocampus. In each one of the temporal lobes resides a hippocampus taking charge of learning and memory.

Neocortical or Lateral Temporal Lobe Epilepsy –

In this type, the outer layering of the temporal lobe gives birth to seizures. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) in this form has very low reported cases as compared to the previous one. Neocortical TLE presumably happens because of a brain tumor, abnormality in blood vessels or the temporal lobe, or due to some birth defects.

Which Brain Function is The Temporal Lobe Responsible For?

The processing of sounds and memories is managed by the temporal lobe area of the brain.

The processing of sounds and memories is managed by the temporal lobe area of the brain. It also makes the brain understand what one’s eyes see, and is a home for interpreting and forming speech and language. This department of the brain is like the director for some automatic/unconscious responses like fight-or-flight, hunger, thirst, and emotions.

The right and left temporal lobes are specialists in different works. The seizures, depending on where they start in the temporal lobe, can cause havoc in one or more tasks of this crucial brain region.

Epilepsy in the right temporal lobe hampers learning and memorizing non-verbal information (e.g; drawings and music), and understanding facial expressions. Left temporal lobe epilepsy may damage one’s ability to interpret language, memorize, learn, remember verbal information, and form speech.

Metaphorically, you can say that the left temporal lobe does the brain’s work by using the brain, and the right temporal lobe does it by using the heart.

What Causes Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Toddlers?

There are several causes for temporal lobe epilepsy in toddlers

There are numerous potential causes but medical science still hasn’t reached a stage where we can understand the exact cause. Here’s a brief look at the potential causes of temporal lobe epilepsy in toddlers-

  • Brain tumors
  • Toddler falling and hitting their head
  • Genetics
  • Deformities in the brain’s blood vessels
  • The hippocampus area of the temporal lobe has scarring
  • Unusual electrical activity in the brain
  • History of infections in the family such as meningitis or encephalitis

Furthermore, febrile seizures in toddlers lasting for or more than 15 minutes make them vulnerable to this TLE in future. A febrile seizure is caused by a high fever.

Symptoms of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Toddlers

Epilepsy may cause seizures

The beginning of temporal lobe seizures brings with it certain symptoms. Toddlers may experience one or more of these unusual feelings-

  • Deja vu
  • A rising sensation in the abdomen or nausea
  • Emotions ( like fear)
  • A sound, vision, smell, or taste

Parents and caregivers may find it hard to detect that their toddler is experiencing these signs. These early signs are termed as auras or simply warnings. They play out for a few seconds to a few minutes before the actual seizure takes place. Auras may occur in different ways such as hallucinating the toddler in aspects of sounds, voices, tastes, and smells. It is possible not to have auras at all, and directly experience seizures.

When the toddler experiences a seizure, they may remain aware or conscious, but their body won’t take instructions from them to move. You may find them doing repeated swallowing, lip smacking, chewing, hand rubbing, or staring. These are all unconscious movements of the body triggered due to seizures.

Diagnosis of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Toddlers

The most reliable technology for diagnosing TLE is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If the toddler has temporal lobe epilepsy, the brain will show certain characteristics which will be detected in the brain scan.

The second procedure after MRI is an electroencephalogram (EEG) – which displays the brain’s electrical activity. If sharp waves are revealed in certain places in the brain, the doctors know with clarity that the patient has TLE.

Treatment of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Toddlers

When the medicines don't work, doctors recommend doing surgery.

There are quite a few options to treat TLE in toddlers, ranging from medications to surgery-


Doctors prescribe some effective medicines based on the severity of the case. They will guide you about which medicines to take as per your toddler’s response to the treatment. In most instances, medications control seizures to a large degree.

Laser Ablation

MRI is used to scan the brain and provide the exact spots for using the laser. The laser destroys the scar tissue in the temporal lobe region to end the seizures.


When the medicines don’t keep the seizures in check, doctors recommend doing surgery. It can only be done if a tumor or lesion causing the seizure is spotted through technology such as MRI or EEG.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery

A combination of 3D computerized imaging and highly focused beams of radiation are aimed at the nerve cells behaving abnormally and resulting in seizures.

How to Reduce The Chances of Temporal Lobe Seizures?

With treatment and lifestyle changes, a  person can live a normal life.

Every individual who undergoes treatment may not become free from seizures. Some will completely reverse the condition, while others may keep having it. However, with adequate treatment and lifestyle changes, the person can live a normal life. If the causes of the seizures can be identified, to a large extent, they may never happen again.

Regardless of all the treatment options available for temporal lobe epilepsy, toddlers suffering from it need some lifestyle adaptations. Temporal lobe epilepsy in toddlers can lead to changes in mood and memory. Therefore, your little one needs support from your entire family as they go through the treatment procedure.

It may be difficult to identify temporal lobe epilepsy in toddlers as sometimes the symptoms may not be that prominent. Still if you sense any abnormality or any sort of changes in behavior of your little one, it is best to consult the doctor without fail. Remember, this is a curable condition, but timely diagnosis is essential. Also, support your toddler as they face this condition. Keep calm, and avoid panic. With proper diagnosis and treatment your toddler will live a healthy life.


1. Can Epilepsy in Toddlers go Away?

Yes, many toddlers and children facing this problem outgrow it. With proper measures, it is completely possible for them to live a normal life.

2. How Common Are Temporal Lobe Seizures?

Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common epilepsy there is. Around 50 million people all over the world suffer from it.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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