Which physical findings are characteristic of physical abuse in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Children with autism and related conditions may persist incessantly with repetitive behaviors that annoy others, despite instructions to cease. Children with autism spectrum disorder typically do not respond to spanking and other forms of traditional discipline. Parents, teachers, and others may eventually lose control and inflict physical injury on the child.

For this reason, children with autism spectrum disorder are at high risk for physical abuse; in addition, when physical abuse occurs, these children may not report it. Therefore, pediatricians and other healthcare providers must maintain a high level of suspicion for the possibility of physical abuse when assessing children with autism spectrum disorders and must conduct regular, careful physical examinations.

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