Here’s a post from sfgate.com autism blogger Laura Shumaker on healthcare and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. There’s an effort underway to develop a pilot program that would train San Francisco’s doctors to recognize health issues in this population. Read on to see why this is important:
Talia Schultz of San Francisco, who has autism and few words to tell people what’s wrong, was rushed to the ER with an infected gallbladder. Her sister Sarah, who had assumed 40-year-old Talia’s care a month before after their mother’s death, felt terrible.”I had no idea she was so sick!” she said.
Talia developed complications during an emergency gallbladder surgery, resulting in a more extensive surgery and a longer, very expensive, hospital stay.
“People with autism often don’t have typical pain behavior like grimacing or clutching their stomach,” says Dr. Clarissa Kripke, Director, Developmental Primary Care, Department of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF, “so it can be hard for others to recognize.”
Dr. Kripke sees situations like Talia’s at least daily.As children, the developmentally disabled can usually depend on parents and pediatricians to be their medical advocates. Yet when they grow into adulthood, there are few experienced physicians and other trained health care providers to take care of them. And there’s no system to ensure their care as their aging parents can no longer advocate for them.