Children With Autism Case Study

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The problem that I have chosen to discuss is the barriers to, and the importance, of access of health care services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The pediatric population is more at risk for this problem due to the nature of the disorder. Individuals with this disorder experience, “in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors” (Autism Speaks). There is no specific diagnostic test that can be positive or negative in an individual with Autism. However, there is a set of signs and symptoms that can be classified as Autism. This affects the pediatric population because it is not always diagnosed early on. Also, the disorder can take much longer to manifest …show more content…
Gutierrez discussed the difference in the manifestations of ASD from one child to the next. Due to the spectrum, one child may be very high functioning and appear what many would consider a “normal child”. These children are often diagnoses much later, many within the elementary years, whereas those with more obvious symptoms may be diagnosed much earlier. She said that she has patients who are nonverbal and these are diagnosed earlier on. This is supported by the following study, “Children with severe language deficits received a diagnosis an average of 1.2 years earlier than other children” (Mandell et. al 2005). In addition, those which other non-specific symptoms such “hand flapping, toe walking, and sustained odd play” receive their diagnoses later than those with more overt symptoms. Thus, the manifestation of the disorder from one individual to the next is a factor within access/onset to care.
Ms. Gutierrez agreed with the importance of early diagnosis of ASD in children because early intervention with these children is best for their development. Both insurance and the rate at which ASD manifests within the child greatly affect the diagnosis, thus treatment the child is exposed to. Therefore, health maintenance becomes a tremendous issue. It has been known that early identification is the “most important because interventions to improve the functioning of children with ASD may be more effective with younger children” (Mandell et. al
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Gutierrez also discussed the important of multiple health care providers for individuals, particularly the pediatric population, with ASD. Individuals with ASD do not only attend occupational therapy. Children with ASD “have extensive health-care needs along with physical, developmental / neurological comorbidities … due to which they require services from multiple health-care, educational, and social services providers” (Vohra, Madhavan, et. al 2014). These health care providers may include physical therapy, applied behavioral therapy, and speech therapy. This factor could create issues with the child’s continuity of care, as the parent may not agree with the input of the multiple health care providers. Conflict can arise due to differing opinions regarding the child’s goals and overall care plan. In addition, parental understanding of therapy, and its importance, affected the child’s care. Some parents did not implement their parental “homework” once the child was at home, which ultimately affects the child’s occupational therapy outcomes. This was also an important stimuli identified by Ms. Gutierrez and was also discussed within my supporting article as some “parents could not recognize the importance of continuous pediatric care” (Mandell et al.

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