For individuals with autism, visiting the doctor can be a distressing experience. Furthermore, for parents of children with autism, accessing health care for their children can be difficult.
Research conducted by Dr. Sue C. Lin and Dr. Stella M. Yu at the University of Maryland has shown that for parents whose primary language isn’t English, difficulty navigating the US health care system can increase their child’s vulnerability to not participating in early intervention services.
However, doctors have been working to change this by making a visit to the doctor’s office a less overwhelming experience for children and their families. Dr. Wendy Ross is the director of Jefferson Health’s Center for Autism and Neurodiversity, and she is committed to increasing the accessibility of Health Care to those with autism. Ross says, "One would never put somebody in a wheelchair in a world without ramps, but that's what happens to my patients every day. So we're creating a ramp ... designed for autism."
Dr. Ross has been taking steps such as preparing patients for their visits with visuals, providing noise-canceling headphones, special seating, and little fidgets. She plans to expand this across the Jefferson Health system, which spans across Philadelphia and New Jersey.
Ultimately, taking steps like those Dr. Ross has taken is instrumental in increasing the accessibility of health care for those with autism. Increasing accessibility is important because when patients with autism grow older, it allows them to get the preventative care they need.
Author: Sanjana Kotha
Sanjana is a junior in high school who is passionate about raising awareness about developmental disabilities and neurological disorders. This interest developed from neuroscience research she’s conducted and she wants to share information with the community.