Primary Care Services and Quality
Autistic young adults and their families struggle to find adult primary care providers who understand their needs. The overall goals of the Primary Care Services and Quality research node are to increase life span and maximize quality of life. In order to attain these goals, primary care for autistic adults needs to improve.
Autistic adults have a higher prevalence of co-occurring medical conditions, yet experience limited access to high-quality primary and preventive care services throughout the life course. The deficit in primary and preventive care services faced by autistic individuals, as well as the increased prevalence of various chronic medical conditions is related to a range of factors, including a lack of physician training for working with autistic individuals. Interventions are needed to bridge the existing gaps in primary and preventive care and to address the increased prevalence of chronic health conditions in autistic individuals. Care for autistic individuals should incorporate guideline-driven practices provided to the general population in addition to personalized accommodations to improve delivery of care. Specific research priorities for the Primary Care Node include promoting autistic individuals’ self-determination in health care, enhancing primary care provider training, and mental health and psychiatric care.