How can we support the healthcare needs of autistic adults without intellectual disability?

Published April 2019
Abstract
Autistic adults often experience unmet health-care needs. We conducted a review of the literature on the barriers and facilitators to health care for autistic adults without intellectual disability. We also describe examples of available health supports for this population. Barriers and facilitators to health care were grouped into three categories: (1) patient-level factors, (2) provider-level factors, and (3) system-level factors. Patient-level factors included communication issues, anxiety, sensory differences, socio-economic factors and previous experiences with health-care professionals. Provider-level factors included a lack of provider knowledge and training, and incorporating communication accommodations and supporters. System-level factors included accessibility of health-care facilities and limited referral pathways. In summary, autism training for health professionals with an emphasis on: managing communicative differences; changing practice environments to be more “autism friendly”; and approaching physical examinations in a mindful manner which respects sensory sensitivities, can help facilitate access to and engagement in health-care services for autistic adults. Few evidence based health supports for autistic adults exist, with greater research needed in this area. Keywords Autism Adults Physical health Mental health General practitioners
Citation
Bradshaw, P., Pellicano, E., van Driel, M. & Urbanowicz, A. (2019). How can we support the healthcare needs of autistic adults without intellectual disability? Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 6(2), 45-56. doi: 10.1007/s40474-019-00159-9

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