Subjects with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have more medical needs and more difficulties accessing health care services than the general population. Their verbal and non-verbal communication difficulties and particular behaviors, along with lack of expertise on the part of physicians and failure of the services to make adjustments, make it difficult for them to obtain an appropriate health care.
To describe a model for health care delivery in an ASD population.
Review of relevant literature and a discussion process with stakeholders leading to the design of a service to meet the specialty health needs of subjects of all ages with ASD for a region with a population of 6,000,000.
A service was designed centred around the concepts of case management, individualization, facilitation, accompaniment, continuous training and updating, and quality management. Five hundred and thirteen patients with ASD have been seen over a period of 18 months. The programme generated 1566 psychiatric visits and 1052 visits to other specialties (mainly Nutrition, Stomatology, Neurology, and Gastroenterology) in the same period.
Persons with ASD may benefit from adjustments of health care services in order to improve their access to adequate health care at the quality level of the rest of the population.