Children with ASD endure multiple health issues


A new study has found that many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also have anxiety, chronic gastrointestinal (GI) problems and atypical sensory responses. These symptoms appear to be related and can have significant effects on a child’s daily life, especially at school and at home.

One fourth suffer multiple health issues

Micah Mazurek, an assistant professor of health psychology and a clinical child psychologist, found that, of almost three thousand children and adolescents with ASD, nearly a quarter of them also had GI problems like constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or nausea . Those children were also more likely to experience anxiety and sensory problems like heightened reactions to light, sound or textures.

These symptoms impact quality of life, ability to learn

“These problems can have a very real impact on daily life. Children with anxiety may be distressed or reluctant to engage in new activities, and those with sensory problems may have trouble paying attention or participating in over-stimulating environments,” Mazurek explained. “These children may also suffer uncontrollable GI problems that they may not be able to communicate about to adults.”

Doctors need to treat all the conditions to improve health

The study hopes to draw attention to the fact that clinicians should also look for symptoms of anxiety, GI problems and sensory sensitivity in children diagnosed with ASD. Managing these conditions may improve their experience and ability to treat the ASD.

“Parents need to be aware that these problems may underlie some of their children’s difficulties, so if they notice any symptoms they should talk to their doctors or therapists about treatment options,” Mazurek advised. “Practitioners who work with children with ASD need to be mindful that there is a pretty high rate of these problems, so if children are treated for one issue, it may help to screen for these additional symptoms.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of Missouri-Columbia

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