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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Interventions and Health Outcomes

The Politics of Autism discusses health care, and explains that autism services can be complicated, creating difficulties for autistic people and their families. 

Teal W Benevides and colleagues have an article in Autism titled "Interventions to Address Health Outcomes among Autistic Adults: A Systematic Review."  The lay abstract:
Autistic adults have more health problems than their same-aged peers. Yet little research has been conducted that focuses on addressing these health problems. In order to guide future research, it is important to know what intervention studies have been done to improve health outcomes among autistic adults. The project team and student assistants read studies that were published between 2007 and 2018 in the online research database, PubMed. We looked for studies published in English, which were peer-reviewed and included (1) an intervention, (2) an outcome that was related to health, and (3) a study group that included autistic adults. We did not include studies that had outcomes about employment (unless there was a health outcome), studies about caregivers or caregiving, or expert opinions about interventions. Of 778 reviewed articles, 19 studies met all of the criteria above. Within these studies, two approaches were found to have emerging evidence for their use in autistic adults: cognitive behavioral interventions and mindfulness-based approaches for improved mental health outcomes. The remaining intervention approaches did not have enough articles to support their use. Many of the outcomes were about reduced symptoms of co-occurring mental health diagnoses (e.g. reduced anxiety, depression). Most of the participants in these studies were male and did not have intellectual disability. Most study participants were adults younger than 40. There are not many intervention studies that address health outcomes among autistic adults. More research is needed on interventions which are desired by the adult autism community and address preferred health outcomes such as increased quality of life or well-being.