Healthcare issues for children on the autism spectrum


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewWe provide a summary of issues relevant to healthcare and health delivery in autism and related disorders, with a focus on work published in the past 5 years.Recent findingsAutism has a strong genetic basis as evidenced by the high recurrence rate in families and its associations with Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis. Early diagnosis of autism is important, given the potential for improvement with intervention. Although its associations have been reported with events such as measles–mumps–rubella immunization, large-scale studies have not supported such links. Controlled drug trials have increased in frequency and drug treatment may be helpful in addressing frequently associated behavioural and emotional difficulties. Alternative treatments are frequently preferred by parents.SummaryKnowledge of autism among healthcare professionals has increased but gaps remain. Physicians and other professionals can facilitate the delivery of healthcare services to individuals with autism. Awareness of empirically validated treatments will facilitate work with individuals with autism and related disorders as well as with their families.

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