Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to have a poor health status because of being diagnosed with a range of physical and mental health conditions and experience disparities in health care. The purpose of this study is to find barriers to health care experienced by adults with ASD and find gaps in health care which health-care providers can work to fill.
This scoping review aimed to identify studies that report on disparities in health and health-care service provisions experienced by adults with ASD. The authors included articles that described health-care disparities for patients with ASD and were published in peer-reviewed journals between January 2010 and April 2022. The authors searched the following databases and medical journals to search for eligible studies: Google Scholar, Pubmed, Elsevier, Sage Publications and Embase. The authors comprehensively searched key terms related to ASD, health care and disparities.
The core defining features of ASD, which include communication and social impairments and deficits in sensory processing, were found to be barriers in the health-care experience of adults with ASD. Continued research and changes in health care, such as developing interventions to empower patients, adequately training providers and increasing the accessibility of the health-care system, are necessary to ensure adults with ASD receive adequate medical care.
Additionally, clarifying the current literature on this topic can guide future research efforts to explore the influence of factors such as gender and the spectrum of autism itself leading to various levels of abilities and their influence on the health-care experience of adults with ASD.
Overall, the findings from this scoping review underline the importance of providing readily accessible evidence-based, age-appropriate primary and hospital health care for adults with ASD.
Further interventions are needed to empower patients, adequately train providers, increase the accessibility of the health-care system, increase support for ASD patients and decrease discrimination.
This paper is a scoping literature review of the original work done by researchers in the field of developmental disorders and health care.
Sidhu, H.K. and Greene, M.C. (2023), "A scoping review of disparities in health and health-care service provisions experienced by adults with autism spectrum disorder", Advances in Autism, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 82-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-03-2022-0015
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