GI disorders affect as many as 85% of patients with ASD.
Epilepsy/seizures Sleep disorders/disturbance ADHD
Alarmingly, multiple studies show that people with ASD have significantly shorter lifespans not due to autism itself, but to accompanying mental and physical health conditions.
Physical discomfort might prompt spikes in self-soothing repetitive behaviors as well as irritability, aggression, self-injury, and other challenging behavioral issues.
Epilepsy affects a remarkable 25% to 40% of patients with ASD, compared to 2% to 3% of the general population
Selective eating and obesity are the two most common feeding or eating disorders for pediatricians to be aware of in their patients with ASD.
Sensory issues, anxiety, medication side effects, social isolation, and activity level can all be underlying factors
Chronic sleep problems affect anywhere from 50% to 80% of children with autism
Genetics, medication, and anxiety can all play a role in sleep disturbance.
As many as 85% of children with autism also have some form of comorbid psychiatric diagnosis, and 35% are taking at least 1 psychotropic medication as treatment. ADHD, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed comorbidities, with anxiety and depression being particularly important to watch for in older children, as they become more self-aware.
ADHD can be extremely challenging to distinguish from ASD, even for experienced clinicians, since the core symptoms of ASD can look like attention problems or hyperactivity (lack of eye contact, repetitive behaviors, etc.)