By: Meghana Reddy
Many autistic patients, depending on the severity of their illness, may need care for the rest of their lives, may never have a full conversation with anyone, and continue to live their lives through frustration, self-injury, and tears. The major therapies used to work with autism are physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and they mainly address the outward physical behaviors and social characteristics of autism.
But just addressing what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem is thoroughly taken care of. Many patients with autism may have to be treated for other disorders as well. In addition to the primary condition of autism, many patients may also have co-morbid disorders, disorders that exist independently of autism but are occurring at the same time. These co-morbidities affect other bodily systems, like immune, neurological, and digestive health.
But because it’s difficult to detect these additional co-morbidities, especially in autistic patients because they can’t communicate their discomfort or pain as well as other patients can.
And of course, if the patients themselves can’t communicate what they’re feeling, the patient’s family, doctor, or therapist may be unable to recognize the symptoms, or intervene and treat them as necessary.
Perhaps if we were to have more thorough examinations of the patient once or twice a year, to monitor their status, we might be able to jump in if any problems arise. And if we are persistent with regular check-ups of patients, we may be able to lessen the effects on the patient in the long-run.