Karen O’Connor discusses the misdiagnoses of children in The Irish Times

Journalist Michelle McDonagh recently posed the question “Why are so many more children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than 20 years ago?”.

Karen O’Connor was there to discuss the increasing trend of diagnosing children with ASD ahead of exploring other options.

“It’s time to start a conversation nationally and internationally about this. Why are so many children being diagnosed with autism now compared with 20 years ago? Are we missing something? Are we looking at all the pieces of the developmental jigsaw?”


Karen O’Connor, consultant speech and language therapist and director of services at the Child Development Centre in Galway and Dublin, believes one of the reasons for the increase in the number of ASD diagnoses over the past 20 years may be that many children are being misdiagnosed with ASD when they have sensory processing disorder (SPD), a similar but different condition.

She says: “Parents often wonder why does my child flap? Why has he poor eye contact? Why doesn’t she like hugs and kisses? Why is his play so poor? Why does she have so many meltdowns? These are often seen as typical indicators of autism, but they are also typical symptoms of sensory processing difficulties. There are many reasons that children can present with these symptoms and only one of them is autism.”

Read the full article at IrishTimes.com


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