Autism and Injury Risk

For parents of children with autism, every day is already a potential struggle. Children with autism may have difficulty with tasks like communication and understanding, making school, work, or social life extra stressful for both the child and their family. Now, a new study, published in the American Journal of Health, presents a new worry: the high risk of injury among autistic children and teens.

What Is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a neurodevelopment disorder that affects social interaction, communication, and general behavior, including a tendency to exhibit repetitive behavior. The autism spectrum covers a wide range of symptoms, behaviors, and subsets. It affects everyone in different ways. There are a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty making or maintaining eye contact
  • Delay in learning to speak
  • “Robotic” or repetitive speaking
  • Difficulty understanding situations from another person’s perspective
  • Limited interests
  • Repetitive behavior

Not everyone with autism has all these symptoms, and some people may cope with the challenges better than others. Some people are “high functioning,” while others are hindered every day. Treatment for autism can include behavioral treatment and medication, and for children with autism, understanding and attentiveness is an important step in dealing with the everyday challenges.

Preventable Injury Risk

Along with these extra challenges, children with autism are more likely to suffer from preventable injuries. In fact, children with autism are 40 times more likely to die from an accidental injury than their neurotypical peers.  Drowning is the primary cause of death, followed by suffocation and asphyxiation.  These statistics are high outside the young population, too; overall, 28% of people with autism die due to injury.

In these cases, autism is not the direct cause of death, but may heavily contribute to their accident or injury. Drowning accidents, for example, may occur as a result of an autistic child’s tendency to wander when they are feeling anxious. Children with autism may also have difficulty understanding why something is dangerous, or be unable to communication their discomfort with a situation.

For parents and guardians of children with autism, the study on the risk of preventable injuries is clearly alarming.  With support, understanding, and increased awareness, however, they can help their children lead healthy, safe, and fulfilling lives.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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