The new study on mortality in people with autism may be overestimating the risk of drowning and suffocation in those with ASD. The study claims a higher rate of drowning and other accidental deaths in people with autism, which is true, but the magnitude of the effect they found was astronomical and misleading given the methodology. They counted people with autism based on information on their death certificates. Not everyone with autism has this code listed on their death certificate – so likely this number is underestimated and the risk of drowning overestimated. The shocking results call for things like swimming lessons in those with autism and other drastic safety measures. People with autism ARE at a higher risk of drowning and we should all pay attention. Ways to prevent accidental death in people with autism are needed and the overall message should be the same. But the numbers themselves are probably a little off.
Click here to listen to this week’s podcast with Dr. Alycia Halladay.