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Transition to Adulthood for Autistic Adolescents: Topics Discussed by Healthcare Providers With Autistic Patients and Families

  • Rachel K. Myers
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Rachel K. Myers, Ph.D., M.S., Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2716 South Street, 13th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19146.
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Christina Labows
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Benjamin E. Yerys
    Affiliations
    Center for Autism Research, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Catherine C. McDonald
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Department of Family and Community Health, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Division of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Emma B. Sartin
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Cynthia J. Mollen
    Affiliations
    Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    PolicyLab, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • Allison E. Curry
    Affiliations
    Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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      Abstract

      Purpose

      We surveyed healthcare providers to determine the extent to which they discuss transition-to-adulthood topics with autistic patients without intellectual disabilities.

      Methods

      Seventy-four healthcare providers in the Philadelphia area reported on the patient age at which they begin transition conversations, topics covered, and provider comfort. We calculated the proportion of providers who endorsed each transition topic, overall and by clinical setting.

      Results

      Providers initiated transition-related conversations at a median age of 16 years (IQR: 14, 18), with over half reporting they were “somewhat” or “a little” comfortable with discussions. Nearly all providers discussed at least one healthcare, well-being, and mental health topic, while basic need-related discussions were limited.

      Discussion

      Results suggest providers may delay and feel poorly prepared to provide anticipatory guidance to autistic patients for transition to adulthood. Future efforts to enhance the available resources and preparation available to providers are essential to meet autistic patients’ needs.

      Keywords

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