How Can We Support the Healthcare Needs of Autistic Adults Without Intellectual Disability?
Purpose of Review
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.
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.
KeywordsAutism Adults Physical health Mental health General practitioners
The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.
The PhD candidate (Pia Bradshaw) acknowledges the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.
Compliance with Ethics Guidelines
Conflict of Interest
Pia Bradshaw acknowledges the financial support (PhD scholarship) of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program. Pia Bradshaw also reports being an autistic adult and incorporating personal experiences as an autistic adult into the article under Fig. 1. Elizabeth Pellicano, Mieke van Driel, and Anna Urbanowicz declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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