The level of stress and/or anxiety that a child is experiencing depends on a variety of causalities including their diagnosis. Naturally, the more severe the autism is, the higher the level of daily stress will be. Headaches are one of the common symptoms of stress, and more people complain of headaches than any other medical ailment. The average age onset for headaches is between 9-12 years old. A huge role for physicians now is to identify stress triggers and problem-solve a treatment plan utilizing coping mechanisms. Because each child’s sensory processing abilities are different, there may never be a “standard” level of coping or known vulnerability to depression. More areas must be studied in terms of manifestations of stress and different triggers. Chronic stress during childhood causes social skills to decline, and limits the ability to participate in academic opportunities and extracurricular activities. As doctors, it is our duty to restore our patients’ quality of life and with more research in this area of medicine, hopefully stress will be less of an obstacle for autistic people in the future.
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