Monday, August 9, 2010

Students With Autism Face School Stress

SAN BERNADINO, Calif. -- When a teenager spends the better part of each day fighting off panic attacks and desperately trying to understand the world around them, it comes as little surprise they might need more than a few sick days.
Heather Stephens said her high-functioning autistic son will begin seventh grade this week and she fears the new school year will only exacerbate his burgeoning health problems. Last year, he missed about 40 days of school because the stress stemming from his autism manifested itself in physical illness.
"When he gets stressed, he toe walks and hand flaps," Stephens said. "He will repeat the same things and gets very loud. When he gets under major amounts of stress, he'll vomit."
Dr. Gregory Aaen, a pediatric neurologist at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said it is not uncommon for children with autism to experience stress to the point of physical illness.

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