Linking the Medical and Educational Home to Support Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Practice Recommendations

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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) present with complex medical problems that are often exacerbated by a range of other intellectual and psychiatric comorbidities. These children receive care for their physical and mental health from a range of providers within numerous child-serving systems, including their primary care clinic, school, and the home and community. Given the longitudinal nature in which care is provided for this chronic disorder, it is particularly necessary for services and providers to coordinate their care to ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness. There are 2 primary venues that serve as a “home” for coordination of service provision for children with ASD and their families—the “medical home” and the “educational home.” Unfortunately, these venues often function independently from the other. Furthermore, there are limited guidelines demonstrating methods through which pediatricians and other primary care providers (PCPs) can coordinate care with schools and school-based providers. The purpose of this article is 2-fold: (1) we highlight the provision of evidence-based care within the medical home and educational home and (2) we offer practice recommendations for PCPs in integrating these systems to optimally address the complex medical, intellectual, and psychiatric symptomology affected by autism.

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