The medical home for children with autism spectrum disorder: an essential element whose time has come

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of this review is to describe the role of the medical home in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A high-quality medical home is essential, given the increase in prevalence of ASD and the array of services, community partners, specialists, therapists, and healthcare team members needed to care for this population.

Recent findings

Providing care through the medical home model results in fewer unmet needs. Care coordination and integration are the aspects of the medical home currently most lacking. Navigating the healthcare landscape for children with ASD may be enhanced with patient navigators, integration of physical and behavioral health, and telehealth services.

Summary

Children with ASD have an increased number of medical and mental health needs. Obtaining care via a medical home has been shown to decrease unmet healthcare needs. However, they are less likely to receive care through the medical home model compared with other children with special healthcare needs. Barriers identified by families include a lack of early identification, limited knowledge on educational plans, and unknown community resources. Barriers identified by providers include lack of time, training, and resources. Providing care coordination and family-centered care in a medical home model are essential for children with ASD.

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