Study Reveals Challenges in Treating Iron Deficiency Anemia in Autistic Children

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often encounter feeding difficulties, which can lead to various nutritional deficiencies, including iron deficiency anemia (IDA). These feeding problems are typically due to behavioral issues and food aversions common among children with ASD. Pediatric nurse practitioners play a crucial role in assessing these children for mineral deficiencies and need to be vigilant about the potential complexities in managing IDA in this population.

A case study of a 4-year-old child with ASD illustrates the challenges in treating IDA when the usual oral iron supplements do not suffice. Despite adherence to standard iron supplementation protocols, the child continued to exhibit signs of persistent IDA, prompting a review of other possible causes for the anemia and a reevaluation of treatment strategies. The study underscores the necessity for tailored management approaches in handling IDA in children with ASD, considering their unique behavioral and dietary challenges.

Reference: Burd E, Doyle EA. Challenges in the Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia in a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study. J Pediatr Health Care. 2019 Sep-Oct;33(5):578-584. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2018.11.010. Epub 2019 Jan 23. PMID: 30683579.

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