« Ariz. Expands School Choice Beyond Students With Disabilities | Main | Romney Proposes to Boost School Choice for Students With Disabilities »

Families Don't Seek Help for Autism from Pediatricians

Although early detection and intervention of disabilities can often make a dramatic difference in a child's life, parents of children with autism say they don't put their faith in the people on the front lines of treating and caring for their children.

A small new study discussed at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Toronto last week found that parents didn't expect their pediatricians to provide autism-specific treatment, and many pediatricians don't view autism treatment as within the scope of their work.

The study involving families and doctors in Philadelphia, also found that even doctors who want to help families manage their children's diagnoses lack the training to do so.

"This study validates what previous studies and parents have told us: Many pediatricians are not prepared to provide the kind of advice and information that parents need after receiving a diagnosis of autism for their child," Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer for Autism Speaks, told HealthDay News.

"Without advice and information from their primary care provider, families must navigate treatment options on their own, which can be confusing and complex," Dawson told HealthDay News. "This adds to the already high levels of stress that families are experiencing. We need greater emphasis on autism training for primary care physicians so they can help parents make informed decisions about their child's care."

The study found that pediatricians do refer patients to early intervention services and specialists, but that's not the ideal, said Dr. Susan Levy, director of the Regional Autism Center and the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

It would be better if primary care doctors managed all aspects of the care of a child with autism—receiving reports, consulting with specialists and helping parents integrate autism treatments with the child's overall development and health needs.

Levy told HealthDay News that what makes this arrangement work is shared decision-making, in which pediatricians advise parents on, for example, evidence available about alternative treatments, and then parents and doctors decide together on the best course of action.

Many families, for example, turn to alternative treatments to help with autism, because no medications treat the core symptoms of autism.

But Levy said many doctors find it difficult to discuss those treatments frankly with parents because there is little evidence that they work even though some parents believe they do.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments

  • chiptuning niederbayern: Virtually all of whatever you say happens to be supprisingly read more
  • YARGI YAYINLARI: Someone necessarily lend a hand to make seriously articles I read more
  • Shayla Seyfarth: Now web site internet and overall look many on the read more
  • Gay Cam: Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website read more
  • konfirmationsspr├╝che modern: Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins read more