Priority service needs and receipt across the lifespan for individuals with autism spectrum disorder
Lai, Jonathan K. Y.
Weiss, Jonathan A.
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Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a range of health, community, and social support needs across the lifespan that create age-speciﬁc challenges in navigating service sectors. In this study, we set out to identify the priority needs of individuals with ASD across the lifespan, and the factors that predict receiving priority services. Participants included 3,317 individuals with ASD from a Canada-wide online caregiver survey, stratiﬁed into ﬁve age groups(preschool, elementary school age, adolescence, emerging adulthood, adulthood). Priority receipt was calculated as a ratio of current services that corresponded to individualized priority need. Age-stratiﬁed Poisson regression analyses were used to identify the sociodemographic, clinical and systemic predictors of priority receipt. Results indicate that the distribution of priority need varied by age, except for social skills programming, which was a high across all groups.The number of high and moderate priority needs diversiﬁed with age. Overall, 30% of individuals had none of their priority needs met and priority receipt decreased with age. Systemic factors were most consistently related to priority receipt across the lifespan. Understanding patterns and correlates of priority needs and use that currently exist in different age groups can inform policies to improve service access.
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