Autism may be a leading area of need for patient advocates, according to new research. Four out of every 10 young adults with autism are forced to face their condition without the aid of support services, whether that be medical services, mental health services, case management or therapy, according to a new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
The study examined the amount of care 19 and 20 year olds with autism received, finding that 42 percent received case management, 35 percent received behavioral health services, 23.5 percent received medical services, and 9 percent were undergoing speech therapy. Yet 39 percent of adults of this age received no services at all.
The lack of care comes at what is often a critical time in the lives of individuals with the neurodevelopment disorder, as they attempt to transition into adulthood following the often strong care available in high school, when two-thirds of individuals have a case manager and three-quarters receive speech therapy.
The research, led by Dr. Paul Shattuck at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, is the first of its kind to present a picture of the services that those with autism receive – and the large gaps in care for thousands of individuals. According to the CDC, every one in 110 children has a form of autism, and the disorder – which can vary along a range of what are known as autism spectrum disorders – has been on the rise over the past several decades.
The study also found that minorities and low-income families are more likely to face a lack of services. Blacks were there times less likely to receive services, while families making less than $25,000 were six times more likely to not receive services than families making more than $75,000.
As Dr. Shattuck says: "Loss of supportive services generally means greater emotional and financial strain for family caregivers and reduced opportunities for the adults with autism to be productively engaged in the community.”Did You Know?
- Boys are three to four times more likely to be affected by autism than girls.
- The main signs of autism involve communication, social interaction and repetitive behavior.
- Early diagnosis and intervention is the best way to begin to treat autism.
- Recurrence of autism in a sibling of someone already diagnosed is between 2-8 percent, a much higher rate than in the general population.