In a new study, researchers found children with autism have an elevated prevalence of pain compared with children without autism.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
They used data from the 2016 to 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health to estimate the prevalence of pain (repeated or chronic physical pain in the previous 12 months) among children and adolescents with autism.
The researchers found that the prevalence of pain was 8.2% for children without autism, 15.6% for children with autism, and 19.9 percent for children with autism plus at least one developmental comorbidity.
In further analysis, the odds of pain were higher for children with autism and autism plus at least one developmental comorbidity, compared with children without autism.
When adjusting for age, sex, race, and household poverty status, the odds of pain increased for children with autism and autism plus at least one developmental comorbidity.
The team says these findings suggest the need for improved awareness and modalities for pain assessment as well as incorporating pain management as part of regular therapy for children with autism.
One author of the study is Daniel G. Whitney, Ph.D.
The study is published in JAMA Pediatrics.
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