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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
June 8, 2021

Adolescents With Autism Face Multiple Unmet Health Needs

JAMA. 2021;325(22):2244. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.7963

Although mental and physical health problems are far more common among adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, a recent study showed that they’re about half as likely as their peers without autism to be given guidance on transitioning from pediatric to adult health care.

The data are from a follow-up study of adolescents who participated in the Study to Explore Early Development when they were aged 2 to 5 years. About a decade later, 21% of the youths with autism had physical difficulties such as problems using their hands or hearing loss compared with less than 2% of the control group. Nearly two-thirds of the young people with autism also had a mental health or other condition such as Tourette syndrome compared with about one-third of the control group. The most common mental health conditions among adolescents with autism were attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety.

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