Co-occurring condition is an additional diagnosis that has core symptoms that are distinct from the primary condition. Co-occurring conditions can develop at any age.

Some of the common co-occurring conditions that might be diagnosed in Autistic children are Anxiety, ADHD, Clinical depression, Epilepsy, Intellectual Disability, Sight/hearing impairment/loss, Down syndrome, Eating disorder, Gastrointestinal syndromes, etc.

Some examples are- 

  • If the child fidgets frequently, she or he could have complaints related to constipation.
  • Headbanging could be a sign of presence of headaches, or pain when frustrated and the inability to communicate these symptoms.
  • Pica could be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, such as iron.


Recognizing co-occurring conditions is important because many of these conditions could exacerbate the behavior that occurs in children with Autism. As these co-occurring conditions are treated, the behaviors are reduced, and this will lead to considerable improvement in the quality of life of your child and family. 

References:

Bougeard, C., Picarel-Blanchot, F., Schmid, R., Campbell, R., & Buitelaar, J. (1AD, January 1).

Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder and co-morbidities in children and adolescents: A

systematic literature review. Frontiers. Retrieved January 30, 2022


Al-Beltagi M. Autism medical comorbidities. World J Clin Pediatr. 2021 May 9;10(3):15-28. doi: 10.5409/wjcp.v10.i3.15. PMID: 33972922; PMCID: PMC8085719.


Rosen TE, Mazefsky CA, Vasa RA, Lerner MD. Co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autism spectrum disorder. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2018 Feb;30(1):40-61. doi: 10.1080/09540261.2018.1450229. Epub 2018 Apr 23. PMID: 29683351.