People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at greater risk of developing chronic health and risky lifestyle problems. This is exaggerated further for people living in rural settings and from cultural backgrounds traditionally underserved by healthcare services. The purpose of this paper is to describe an evaluation of health and behavioural lifestyle outcomes of people diagnosed with ASD in a student-led clinic in rural/regional Australia.
Routine clinical outcomes and lifestyle measures were routinely collected at a primary acre student-led Clinic in rural/regional Australia. Participants were all attending the clinic who provided consent for their routine date to be reported. Participants ranged in age from new born to 100 years and were representative of the local community.
The results indicate there is an increased risk for people with ASD developing chronic conditions compared to those without a diagnosis. This also resulted in higher body mass index and blood sugar levels linked to diabetes and hypertension. Mental health problems were common in people diagnosed with ASD especially anxiety disorders. Smoking was problematic for people with ASD but mainly in non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Alcohol use was not an increase risk in ASD.
Little is reported on the health and lifestyle experiences of people with ASD in rural/regional settings, especially from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This paper gives an initial insight to the presentation of chronic conditions and harmful lifestyle choices. Possible insights into adapting or modifying care for people with ASD in rural/regional Australia are given.
Tolchard, B. and Stuhlmiller, C. (2018), "Chronic health and lifestyle problems for people diagnosed with autism in a student-led clinic", Advances in Autism, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 66-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-01-2018-0002Download as .RIS
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