A client with a child with autism reports that her son says that when he kicks and hits it is the voices in his brain telling him to do so. Is the hearing voices connected to autism?
Dr Elfriede Ihsen
There does not appear to be any evidence that hearing voices is a feature of autism. It is not a diagnostic criterion and doesn’t seem to be a characteristic that occurs as part of the spectrum. However it is not impossible that children with autism, just like those without autism, can develop mental health conditions such at OCD and Schizophrenia, and other health conditions, where hearing voices is a frequent characteristic. There is some evidence that Schizophrenia sometimes occurs with autism in children.
Child-onset Schizophrenia (onset before 13 years) shares some clinical features with autism, such as social and communication difficulties, poor eye contact, language problems, anxiety, but there are also distinct features of the two conditions. There is also some emerging evidence that the two disorders share common genetic abnormalities.
‘Autism and Schizophrenia’, By Yael Dvir, MD and Jean A. Frazier, MD in the Psychiatric Times , March 15, 2011