Transitioning to Adulthood: Topics Discussed by Healthcare Providers with Autistic Patients

A recent study led by PISC Senior Scholar Allison Curry, PhD, MPH, featuring PISC Executive Committee Member Catherine McDonald, PhD, RN, evaluates transition-to-adulthood discussions between healthcare providers and patients with autism. Seventy-four healthcare providers across the Philadelphia area are included. Evaluation topics include the age of the patient, topics covered, and provider comfort level. Results indicate that, on average, providers initiate transition conversations at 16 years old. Topics covered include healthcare, well-being, and mental health, while need-related discussions were rare. Additionally, over 50% of providers report they are “somewhat” or “a little” comfortable initiating these conversations with patients with autism. To effectively aid the transition from childhood to adulthood, the team recommends that efforts to “enhance the available resources and preparation available to providers are essential to meet autistic patients’ needs.”

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