PROBLEM: Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have at least as many comorbidities as individuals with typical development may show, but sometimes with different presentations.
METHODS: The study used a school-based health survey related to children diagnosed with ASD in Tehran to determine the possibility of comorbid conditions. Ninety-one children and adolescents with ASD between the ages of 6 and 14 years were included in the study, all from five schools of different districts of the city, using stratified random sampling. All of the subjects had received a clinical diagnosis of ASD (autism, Asperger, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified) by a child neurologist or psychiatrist. All of the schools had registered the subjects and were restricted to those with high-functioning forms of ASD, and none were identified with co-occurring mental retardation.
FINDINGS: Results indicated that 72.5% had at least one comorbid condition. There was a trend of higher severity in autism symptoms in subjects with comorbidity. Results showed that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and epileptic disorders were the leading comorbidity in respective categories.
CONCLUSION: Autistic individuals should be monitored regarding their comorbid profiles, with an emphasis on female subjects and those with more severe symptoms. Clinically, the current study has implications for school healthcare providers, including nurses, in addition to researchers and practitioners working with children diagnosed with ASDs.