Autism spectrum disorder

 

Sir, – In the article “Why are so many children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders?” (Health + Family, November 6th), we were surprised to see the assertion that a possible reason for the increase in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis may be “sensory processing disorder”, a condition “often exacerbated by biomedical factors such as allergies and intolerances”.

We would like to clarify for your readers that there is no hard evidence that allergy is associated with ASD or sensory processing disorder. Allergies and ASD or sensory processing disorder are common conditions and some children will have both; however, this is association not causation. We make this point particularly to avoid children being referred for unnecessary allergy testing or being put on unwarranted dietary restrictions – as we have seen too often. – Yours, etc,

Dr JOHN FITZSIMONS,

Consultant Paediatrician,

Children’s Health Ireland

at Temple Street;

Prof JONATHAN

HOURIHANE,

RCSI Professor

of Paediatrics,

Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street;

Dr AIDEEN BYRNE

Consultant Paediatric

Allergist,

Children’s Health

Ireland at Crumlin.