A co-morbidity is the simultaneous presentation of two conditions in a person (i.e. autism and epilepsy).
The Autism Research Foundation is interested in developing and disseminating information about autism co-morbidities between researchers and clinicians because the inclusion of medical conditions in research may help us deliniate important subgroups while discovering hidden health issues for the individual with autism.
Many times, individuals with autism present with odd behaviors (like head banging) that are assumed to be “just part of their autism”, when in actuality, the odd behaviors are a response to an existing medical condition that we cannot see on the surface. When we acknowledge that behavioral abnormalities may be signs of a medical co-morbidity, we can identify and treat these hidden issues faster.