Reflux and Autism spectrum disorder


it is possible to get the help for reflux, that is needed for autistic children. It takes a bit of extra work when a child has autism, affecting their sensory system and ability to communicate.

There a great deal of under-diagnosis and under-treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in autistic children. Often, if a child has behavioural challenges, it is assumed that it is due to autism, not to an illness.

Many children with mild oesophagitis would have a minor tummy upset or heartburn. However, if your sensory system is wired differently due to autism; mild oesophagitis may go unnoticed in one child with autism or feel like the worst pain imaginable in another. That is because some children with autism have a sensory system that is sluggish and unresponsive and others have a sensory system that is in hyper-responsive.

What to do?

  • Find out if your paediatrician would be willing to try a short term trial of reflux medication to see if there is an improvement in symptoms.
  • Perhaps get a referral to another gastroenterologist with experience working with children with ASD for further evaluation. The paediatrician may also help you figure out if there is another illness or condition that is causing so much discomfort.

About Author


Mum of three and co-founder of reflux sites - refluxSUPPORT, babyREFLUX and littleREFLUXERS.Gathered loads of experience and wisdom talking to thousands of mums and dads who have little refluxers. Campaigning to reduce the number of infants given prescribed drugs for reflux.Superb at parallel parking and eating biscuits.