Tags: autism | anxieity | gi | sense

Autistic Kids Have Interrelated Problems

Monday, 24 September 2012 12:48 PM

Many children with autism spectrum disorders also experience anxiety, chronic gastrointestinal problems, and heightened reactions to light, sound or particular textures, new research shows.
The problems appear to be highly interrelated and can have significant effects on children's daily lives, including their functioning at home and in school, according to the study by a University of Missouri researcher.
"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," said Micah Mazurek, an assistant professor of health psychology and a clinical child psychologist.
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"These children may also suffer uncomfortable GI problems that they may not be able to communicate about to adults."
Mazurek’s findings, published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, are based on an analysis of 2,973 children and adolescents with autism. She found nearly one-fourth also had chronic GI problems – such as constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or nausea – and were more likely to experience anxiety and sensory problems. Study participants were enrolled in the Autism Treatment Network, a network of 17 autism treatment centers throughout North America.
She said the results underscore the need for clinicians and parents to watch for concurrent medical and psychiatric problems that affect treatment of children with autism.
"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 said. "Practitioners who work with children with [autism] need to be mindful that there is a pretty high rate of these problems, so if children are treated for one issue, it may helpful to screen for these additional symptoms."
About one in 88 children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. SPECIAL: Improving Memory Can Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

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Many children with autism also experience anxiety, chronic GI problems, and heightened sensory issues.
Monday, 24 September 2012 12:48 PM
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