Drexel’s Dr. Craig Newschaffer, professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics and director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, and Dr. Loni Philip Tabb, assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, collaborated with researchers from The Lewin Group and OptumInsight Life Sciences on a comparison of injury risk among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to those without ASD. This study found that children with ASD have more injuries than children without ASD, though after controlling for demographic factors and co-occurring conditions, children with ASD are at lower risk of injury. These findings suggest that co-occurring conditions, or the ways these conditions interact with ASD, is related to injuries.
This important shift could influence clinicians working with children with ASD. An understanding that injury risk may be driven by co-occurring conditions for this population could lead to treatment of these conditions to decrease injury risk in addition to other benefits. As the study investigators emphasize, injury prevention interventions are especially warranted for younger children with ASD and those with seizures, depression, visual impairment, or attention-deficit disorders.
The paper written about this research is titled “Injuries among children with autism spectrum disorder”, and was recently published in Academic Pediatrics. The first author for this article was Dr. Anjali Jain from The Lewin Group, and other co-authors were Dr. Donna L. Spencer, Dr. Francisca Azocar, and Mr. Jonathan Johnson, from OptumInsight Life Sciences, and Ms. Wenya Yang, Ms. Jaclyn Marshall, and Dr. Taylor Dennen also from The Lewin Group.