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Treating the Whole Person With Autism: The Proceedings of the Autism Speaks National Autism Conference

TitleTreating the Whole Person With Autism: The Proceedings of the Autism Speaks National Autism Conference
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCoury, DL, Swedo, S, Thurm, A, Miller, D, Veenstra-VanderWeele, J, Carbone, P, Taylor, J
JournalCurrent Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care

Lead Author
Daniel L. Coury

Study Aims and Objectives
To discuss several topics relating to the diagnosis, treatment, and life course of pediatric Autism Spectrum Disorder and to provide current updates in the field.

Methods- Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis Several investigators presented at the Autism Speaks National Autism Conference on topics relating to pediatric ASD. The intended audience was providers, researchers, and families. This is a summary of several conference proceedings relating to DSM-5 diagnostic techniques, genetics, medical issues, and care advancements.

Results and Discussion
The DSM-5 combined several developmental disorder diagnoses, included Asperger Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-not otherwise specified, into one Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. The DSM-5 is meant to be a living document as updates to diagnosis criteria for ASD and other disorders are found.

The genetic characteristics of ASD are still under investigation, with some gene variations showing higher rates of autism in some children. The differing heritability and the strength of these gene mutations requires more research to be fully understood.

While research into medication use with this population has been studied for several decades, there is still very little evidence supporting the use of medications to reduce ASD related symptoms. In the future, targeted genetic testing and therapies combined with personalized medication plans may reduce negative health outcomes in this population.

Issues surrounding comprehensive care and care coordination were discussed as well, with emphasis on community based efforts and care transitions. The transition to adulthood and out of pediatric care poses problems for many individuals with ASD as well as their families. Lack of access to appropriate care, employment opportunities, and secondary education opportunities negatively impact the daily lives of adults with ASD.

PubMed ID24491508