What Should I Do If My Child With Autism Develops Visual And Auditory Hallucinations During Young Adulthood?

Question: What should I do if my child with autism develops visual and auditory hallucinations during young adulthood (18-21 years old)?

Answer: This is an interesting question because hallucinations are typically not part of the picture of autism spectrum disorder. Oftentimes, people with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger disorder demonstrate a behavior which we call self-talk, where they're speaking in a somewhat rote or scripted way and may be taking two sides of a conversation and speaking as though they are both conversational partners. This may appear as though the person sees or hears things which aren't there. But typically, the patient does not report that. Typically they do not say that they see people who are not there or hear voices from inanimate objects. They're simply perseverating and retelling both sides of the conversation almost as if they're stuck in a loop and are playing it over and over again. If you do have a family member who says that they see people who are not there or hear voices from inanimate objects, I would suggest that you seek professional help immediately. My guess would be either this child is misdiagnosed and actually has schizophrenia, or has another comorbid diagnosis such as psychotic depression, which is complicating the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. I would immediately seek help from a psychiatrist who has experience dealing with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders.

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