Behavior Problems and Poor Health

doctor 2We are all aware that a painful medical condition can have a large impact on our daily lives.  Depending on the condition or multiple conditions a person has, he/she may have less functionality, live in pain, change their behavior and/or become depressed or anxious in reaction to their poor health.  This is not any different for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Co-existing medical conditions are likely to affect the child in many ways, making their life more difficult.  Recent research discusses how some behavioral problems in autism may stem from medical conditions.  A June 11, 2015 article from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) talks about a new study, published May 24, 2015 in Autism Research that discusses the link between poor health in children with ASD and behavioral problems.  You can read about it here. cialis 5mg for bph

The new research described in the article suggests that some social and behavioral problems in children with ASD stem from painful health issues that go unnoticed or untreated.  Children who have more profound autism, are non-verbal and/or have an intellectual disability may not be able to express themselves or their discomforts to others.  Imagine you have a painful illness that your doctors and those close to you do not know about and you are unable to tell them what you are feeling and experiencing.   The study suggests that some children with ASD are experiencing pain and discomfort associated with a medical condition, causing some of their social and behavioral problems.

This research reminds us of the importance for practitioners to assess the patient’s full medical history (not just treat the autism diagnosis) and to investigate the family’s medical history.  Practitioners must seek to identify and treat any co-existing medical conditions in children with ASD and do so at an early age.  In some cases, it may be more difficult to identify some medical conditions in a child with ASD as opposed to a neurotypical child.  This is why it is especially important for children with ASD to be examined thoroughly so that these medical conditions do not go unnoticed and untreated.  As researchers delve deeper into this area, we hope to gain more knowledge about the role of co-occurring medical conditions in affecting the health, behavior and family relationships in children with ASD.

Jennifer Lipscomb, M.B.A.
TAP Central Coordinator

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