In this brief overview, neurologist Margaret Bauman, MD summarizes symptoms and signs of medical comorbidities that frequently occur, but may go unrecognized, in patients diagnosed with ASD. While the underlying cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is generally unknown, scientists suspect that it is a multifactorial condition affecting multiple body systems.
Margaret Bauman, MD, discusses medical comorbidities associated with autism and how they affect behavior and quality of life. She outlines some common physical comorbidities, including seizure (1:41), sleep (2:18), hormonal (2:47), urinary (3:00), and gastrointestinal (3:33) disorders, and details how these issues present differently in autistic individuals (1:30). Bauman describes our understanding of challenging behaviors in autism as a form of communication (1:00) and highlights the importance of knowing the signs (6:50).
Individuals with communication difficulties may not be able to describe what hurts or where (4:00). Similarly, sensory issues make it difficult for individuals to determine what is happening in their bodies (5:18). Therefore, Bauman recommends, “… individuals on the spectrum who demonstrate behavioral problems absolutely merit a good physical [and] medical workup (6:41)…. [and] gastrointestinal disorders… need to be one of the first areas of investigation (4:45).” She also suggests that providers who have experience working with individuals with autism be recruited to help create necessary interventions and best outcomes (7:46).