Co-occurring medical and behavioral conditions such as disorders of sleep and feeding, gastrointestinal tract symptoms, obesity, seizures, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and wandering affect the child's function and quality of life.
The most common diseases
• in children with autism under 6 years of age:
- anxiety (50%)
- ADHD (40%)
- specific phobias (40%)
- oppositional/conduct disorder (20%)
• in childhood and adolescence (≈ age 12):
- anxiety (30%)
- ADHD (30%)
- oppositional/conduct disorder (15%)
• in adulthood:
- anxiety / social phobia (30%)
- depression (20%)
- oppositional/conduct disorder (20%)
Unfortunately, no current medication corrects core social and communication symptoms of autism. Children and youth with autism have service needs in behavioral, educational, health, leisure, family support, and other areas.
Medication is used to help manage coexisting behavioral health disorders (eg, ADHD, mood disorders, or anxiety disorders) and associated problem behaviors or symptoms causing significant impairment and distress (aggression, self-injurious behavior, sleep disturbance, mood lability, anxiety, hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention).
!! One or more psychotropic medications are prescribed:
- for 1% of children with autism younger than 3 years,
- for 10% - 11% of children aged 3 to 5 years,
- 38% - 46% of children aged 6 to 11 years,
- 64% - 67% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.
The goals of treatment of children with autism are:
• to minimize core deficits (social communication and interaction and restricted or repetitive behaviors and interests) and co-occurring associated impairments;
• maximize functional independence by facilitating learning and acquisition of adaptive skills;
• eliminate, minimize, or prevent problem behaviors that may interfere with functional skills.
Treatments should be
• developmentally appropriate,
• with performance data relevant to treatment goals to evaluate and adjust intervention.
Interventions for children with ASD are provided through educational practices, developmental therapies, and behavioral interventions. There are a lot of treatment strategies and they may vary by the age and strengths and weaknesses of the child.
Many young adults with autism do not receive any healthcare for years after they stop seeing a pediatrician.
The prognosis and trajectory of development for a young child diagnosed with autism typically cannot be predicted at the time of diagnosis. Almost 80% of children who are diagnosed with ASD after a comprehensive evaluation at less than 3 years have retained their diagnosis.
Mild symptoms of autism can be more difficult to recognize in children younger than 3 years of age, especially if they have average or above-average cognitive abilities. Across early childhood development, communication skills and social affective symptoms may improve, whereas repetitive behaviors may change, possibly reflecting maturation and/or intervention.
By Leigh and al., direct and indirect costs of caring for children and adults with ASD in the United States in 2015 were estimated to be $268 billion, more than the cost of stroke and hypertension combined and would rise to $461 billion by 2025 in the absence of more-effective interventions and support across the life span.
On average, medical expenditures for children and adolescents with ASD were 4.1 to 6.2 times greater than for those without autism.
• More than half of young adults with autism remain unemployed and unenrolled in higher education in the two years after high school. This is a lower rate than that of young adults in other disability categories, including learning disabilities, intellectual disability or speech-language impairment.
• Of the nearly 18,000 people with autism who used state-funded vocational rehabilitation programs in 2014, only 60 percent left the program with a job. Of these, 80 percent worked part-time at a median weekly rate of $160, putting them well below the poverty level.
• Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job.
Research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence reduce autism symptoms and increase daily living skills (resource: US Centers for disease control and prevention).
You can get more information on autism websites:
• Autism Science Foundation: https://autismsciencefoundation.org
• Simons Foundation: https://www.sfari.org
• Autistica: https://www.autistica.org.uk
• US NIH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spec...
• Autism Speaks: www.autismspeaks.org
• Research Autism: http://www.researchautism.net/
• Autism Canada: https://autismcanada.org
• Autism Europe: https://www.autismeurope.org/
• Autism Spain: http://www.autismo.org.es
• Autismus Deutschland: https://www.autismus.de
• WHO: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/a...
1) Kodak T., Bergmann S. (2020). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatric Clinics of North America. doi:10.1016/j.pcl.2020.02.007
2) Lord C., Brugha T. S., Charman T., Cusack J., Dumas G., Frazier T., Veenstra-VanderWeele J. (2020). Autism spectrum disorder. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 6(1). doi:10.1038/s41572-019-0138-4
3) Hyman S. L., Levy S. E., Myers S. M. (2019). Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatrics, 145(1), e20193447. doi:10.1542/peds.2019-3447
4) Leigh JP, Du J. (2015) Brief report: forecasting the economic burden of autism in 2015 and 2025 in the United States. J Autism Dev Disord., 45(12): 4135–4139