Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Barriers and Facilitators that Prevent and Enable Physical Healthcare Services Access for Autistic Adults

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102450-1


A barrier to physical healthcare access is any component of healthcare provision that negatively impacts the healthcare service access of autistic people. Conversely, facilitators are components of healthcare provision that improve the healthcare service access of autistic people. Barriers that affect the physical healthcare access of autistic people include communication, health professional’s knowledge about autism, sensory sensitivities, and cognitive factors (Mason et al. 2019). Brief information is given below about these factors, with examples; more information is contained in the referenced papers.

Autistic people’s communication style (e.g., difficulty describing symptoms, particularly those that involve abstract concepts or hyper-specific language) can be a barrier to healthcare provision (Nicolaidis et al. 2015). Moreover, some autistic people may not provide key information unless questions directly ask for this information (Bradshaw et al. 2019). But it is...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Reading

  1. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mason, D., Ingham, B., Urbanowicz, A., Michael, C., Birtles, H., Woodbury-Smith, M., … Nicolaidis, C. (2019). A systematic review of what barriers and facilitators prevent and enable physical healthcare services access for autistic adults. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 8, 3387–3400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Morris, R., Greenblatt, A., & Saini, M. (2019). Healthcare providers’ experiences with autism: A scoping review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(6), 2374–2388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Nicolaidis, C., Raymaker, D. M., Ashkenazy, E., McDonald, K. E., Dern, S., Baggs, A. E., … Boisclair, W. C. (2015). “Respect the way I need to communicate with you”: Healthcare experiences of adults on the autism spectrum. Autism, 19(7), 824–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Raymaker, D. M., McDonald, K. E., Ashkenazy, E., Gerrity, M., Baggs, A. M., Kripke, C., … Nicolaidis, C. (2017). Barriers to healthcare: Instrument development and comparison between autistic adults and adults with and without other disabilities. Autism, 21(8), 972–984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Unigwe, S., Buckley, C., Crane, L., Kenny, L., Remington, A., & Pellicano, E. (2017). GPs’ confidence in caring for their patients on the autism spectrum: An online self-report study. The British Journal of General Practice, 67(659), e445–e452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of NeuroscienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation TrustNewcastleUK