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Managing Autism and Diabetes Together

June 07, 2013

Doctors and biochemist debate about whether or not a link exists between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and diabetes. An excellent article written for, discusses a number of different medical views on the topic, as well as testimonies of individuals who live with both autism and diabetes.

Overall, while there is no proven cause and effect between autism and diabetes, there are a number of people who live with both of these disorders.


Do you live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Are you diagnosed with autism, or care for someone who is? It is a lot of work to manage one disorder. Can you imagine having both?

A major challenge for the person diagnosed with both ASD and diabetes is communication. More so, difficulties with communication can be downright dangerous if physical pains and medical needs (like low blood sugar or an upset stomach) cannot be properly expressed. But there is a silver lining too; both disorders are best managed when a structured regimen is in place.

To learn more about how to manage the symptoms of diabetes with common traits of ASD, continue reading.

Communication = Problem

Adults and children with autism spectrum disorders may have difficulty describing how they feel physically. In the article, there are a number of testimonials written from parents of children who have autism and diabetes. These individuals list some fears and challenges that exist because of the combination of disorders.

The reality is that diabetes is a huge hurdle for children with ASD who are unaware of what a low blood sugar episode feels like and unable to express their medical needs. Overall, many parents are afraid that their autistic children lack necessary communication skills that allow them to be understood in medical situations.

Regimen = Solution

A saving grace to those who have a combination of autism and diabetes is that both disorders require a routine to be manageable. In further reading of the testimonies mentioned above, it becomes clear that parents are able to use the children’s desire for routine, which is a common characteristic of ASD, to manage their medical care regimens.

By making diet and exercise part of the daily routine, a parent makes it easier for his or her child to adopt eating habits that keep the little one healthy. Also, setting medical checkups at the same time, on a weekly or monthly rotation, can help a child practice and learn how to express his or her physical feelings accurately.

While the combination of autism and diabetes is rare, a number of individuals in Canada’s disability community manage both disorders successfully. Are you one of these few? How have you overcome the hurdle of communication, and leveraged your need for routine in ways that allow you to live a healthy and full life?

It is possible to increase your quality of life by learning more about the disorders that appear most challenging. Continue reading how parents and children with autism and diabetes are thriving in difficult situations. Here is the link to the article that inspired this post:

Image made available by kpcmobile on Flickr through Creative Common Licenses.

*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

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