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Medical Clinics

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Autistic people -- Services, Autism -- Research -- Citizen participation


The autistic population is very heterogeneous; individuals’ skills or challenges fall along spectra on multiple axes (spoken language, written communication, ability to perform activities of daily living, need for consistency, sensory sensitivity, emotional regulation, and so forth) and can change depending on environmental stimuli, supports, and stressors. Autistic adults have increased rates of chronic medical illnesses, including epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders, feeding and nutritional problems, metabolic syndrome, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances, and greater exposure to violence and abuse. Clinicians may improve quality of life by recommending accommodations, assistive technologies, therapies to improve adaptive function or communication, and caregiver training, and by supporting acceptance, access, and inclusion. Access to health care can be improved by using alternative communication strategies, reducing sensory stimuli, providing additional structure to visits, allowing extra time, and using visual aids. Illness often presents as a change from baseline behavior or function. When patients present with behavioral concerns, clinicians should consider medical and psychosocial causes.


This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article that subsequently appeared as: Nicolaidis, C., Kripke, C. C., & Raymaker, D. (2014). Primary care for adults on the autism spectrum. Medical Clinics, 98(5), 1169-1191.The version of record may be found at



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