The characteristics of autism are mostly behavioral: resistance to being touched, little to no eye contact, issues with social skills and minimal acknowledgement of others. But a new study has confirmed what most parents of autistic children already know: children on the autism spectrum disorder are four times more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal issues than children who are not on the spectrum. The study was done to increase awareness among medical providers and to further the development of autism and Asperger’s treatment.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine. Since children on the autism spectrum are often picky eaters—they tend to prefer highly processed foods—the onset of GI problems related to autism can be difficult to pin down. If you have a child on the autism spectrum who has faced gastrointestinal difficulties, talk to their child psychiatrist and pediatrician about how to address the issue. By documenting your child’s complaints and behaviors, you and your doctors could discover a pattern that can help pinpoint the problem.