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Autism and co-occurring conditions

Autism rarely occurs in isolation.
Word autism written in coloured pen
© University of Bath

Autism rarely occurs in isolation. Intellectual Disability is one of the most commonly co-occurring conditions but there are others to consider.

One study employed a clinical sample of young autistic children, with and without intellectual disability, to determine the rate and type of additional psychiatric disorders. 101 autistic children (57 males, 44 females) aged 4.5–9.8 years were assessed. The most common additional diagnoses were: generalised anxiety disorder (66.5 %), specific phobias (52.7 %) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (59.1 %). Less than 10% of the autistic children had no co-occurring conditions.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) provides a list of resources for co-occurring conditions, including intellectual disability, ADHD, hearing and visual impairment, Down’s syndrome, dyslexia and hyperlexia, dyspraxia, epilepsy, fetal anti-convulsant syndrome (FACS), fragile X syndrome, and social communication disorder. The NAS also has information about health issues such as eating and sleeping. Information on how to support the co-occurring conditions in autistic children is available and covers, ADHD, anxiety disorders, epilepsy and OCD amongst others.

© University of Bath
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