Is there any link between autism and down syndrome?

Medically Reviewed by Checkmark Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Sravanthi Sunkaraneni
Is there any overlap between autism and down syndrome?
Yes. Autism is 10-25 times more likely to occur in patients with down syndrome. Children with both down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder are known to have a 'dual diagnosis'. However, it should be noted that diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children with Down's syndrome who already have a learning problem is difficult.

Increasing evidence indicates that individuals with down syndrome (DS) are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at a greater frequency compared to the general population. However, there is a lack of knowledge about how ASD symptoms manifest specifically in individuals with DS. In this article, we will discuss about autism and whether there is any link between autism and down syndrome.

What is autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition same as Down syndrome that includes a range of disabilities. The spectrum is marked by repetitive behavior patterns, interests, and activities, as well as difficulties with social interactions. Children with ASD experience behavioral and psychological challenges.

Is autism more prevalent in down syndrome patients?

Yes. There is a link between down syndrome and autism. According to the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation, autism is 10-25 times more common among people with down syndrome than others. Research states that about 16-18% of people with down syndrome also have ASD. In fact, diagnostic overshadowing occurs in such cases. Diagnostic overshadowing is a phenomenon where certain behaviors are attributed to down syndrome instead of being considered as potential indicators of another condition, such as ASD. As a result, doctors suspect that there may be additional individuals with Down syndrome who also have ASD. Both condition induvial faces the same kind of difficulties such as driving.

Can autism co-exist with down syndrome?

Yes. Research states that there is an increase in the population of children living with down syndrome and autism. Such children are at more disadvantage in regard to their education and overall development, even relative to children who do not have a dual diagnosis. However, it is difficult to diagnose autism spectrum disorder in children with down syndrome who already have a learning disability. Furthermore, there is a lack of clear agreement about the number of children with down syndrome who also have autism or some features of autism.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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