Medical Causes for Autism-Related Behaviors

It’s not unusual for medical problems to be overlooked in kids with autism, especially those who are nonverbal. When evaluating your child’s behaviors, it’s crucial to consider that some may actually be reactions to pain or discomfort from treatable medical or dental conditions that may have gone unrecognized. Kids with ASD may not be able identify or articulate the source of the pain or discomfort they are experiencing effectively.

Here are some commonly misinterpreted behaviors that may have medical causes:

  • Gulping or grimacing
  • Tapping the chest or stomach
  • Pressing on the abdomen
  • Refusing to sleep
  • Repetitive motions
  • Self-injury like head-banging or hitting yourself
  • Meltdowns
  • Aggression

If you notice any of these behaviors in your child, visiting your physician is a good idea to identify or rule out different medical problems, including:

  • Painful acid reflux
  • Constipation
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Tonsillitis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bone fractures

Read more about possible medical causes here.