Health Care and the Autism Spectrum
A Guide for Health Professionals, Parents and Carers
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
"You'll just feel a little scratch then it will all be over." This well-worn phrase to reassure patients about injections is unlikely to win over the patient if they happen to have autism. Communication difficulties, sensory overload and extreme discomfort with physical contact are all traits common in autism that make basic patient care and routine medical procedures extremely difficult.In a patient who is exquisitely sensitive to touch, how do you go about taking blood pressure or dressing a wound? How can you be sure that your autistic patient has given `informed' consent to treatment if you aren't sure that they have really understood the implications? What do you do about it? Equally, for people with autism, or the parent or carer of someone on the spectrum, healthcare issues loom very large in daily concerns.Health Care and the Autism Spectrum is a ground-breaking volume that addresses the ethical issues as well as the practical challenges that everyone involved has to deal with. Every health care professional will have an increasing number of autistic patients on their list as diagnosis of this condition continues to spiral. Consequently, this book is urgently needed.
'The text is easy to read, sensitive and sometimes amusing. This, enriched by the author's use of personal experiences and her obvious commitment, ensures success.'- Accident and Emergency Nursing Journal'Everyone who works in the health care services should read this book. It is written in a clear and easily readable style with an absence of jargon. It is packed with common sense suggestions which would be of value to anyone who works or lives with people with ASD. Reading this book made me wonder how on earth anyone with ASD manages to access health care at all, given the myriad of difficulties that they face.'- Good Autism Practice'This reader should be of equal interest to health care and social care staff alike. It deals with the, often-difficult, issues around medical interventions with those who have autistic spectrum disorders... this, clearly-authoritative, guide is well-overdue.'- Care and Health'Anyone with a relative on the Autistic Spectrum will be familiar with the perils of health and social care consultations. I experienced complete "meltdown" of my seven-year-old autistic spectrum son in an X-ray department, primarily because the radiographer didn't know any better. The problem with autism is that it tends to be an invisible disability. It covers a spectrum (Autistic Spectrum Disorders, or ASD) from the mute, withdrawn child with a severe learning disability to one with high functioning autism (or Asperger's Syndrome), who might have an above-average IQ but limitations in terms of communication, social interaction and imagination. Having autism is likened to finding oneself stranded in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language, traditions or customs of the place, no map or directions, and no guide books to follow. Alison Morton-Cooper has written this book to raise awareness of autism among health and social care professionals. She explains how ASD has the potential to affect an individual's care, and how consultations can be made more "autism-sensitive". Her aim is to emphasise that those on the autism spectrum require special understanding if they are to make best use of health and social care provision. The book covers GP consultations and hospital care, consent to treatment, medication, nursing care issues, social support and bereavement. There is a useful Fast Facts section and a bibliography. Key strategies for effective consultations include providing a safe environment, paying close attention to sensory problems, maintaining a sense of structure and a appreciation of family situation and history. I found this an excellent, readable book and recommend it to all health and social care workers. It will be a helpful tool for training and should ideally be placed in all GP surgeries and hospital departments. Parents and carers will find it useful as a checklist before healthcare consultations or hospital admission.'- Children Now'Despite being also directed at parents and carers, the main focus of this book is on raising awareness of those working in health care settings of the needs of individuals with autism. Strategies are suggested to help alleviate the effects of potential stresses caused by a busy health care setting, such as preparing the Patient, clear explanations and maintaining a new environment.Other professional factors are considered, for instance the legal and medical issues that arise when gaining consent from patients with autism. There is an emphasis on the building up of protocols and guidelines.'- Community Practitioner
Alison Morton-Cooper has had many years of experience in the field of health care, in health services journalism, as a health educator and latterly as a senior nurse and lecturer in continuing professional education. Her MEd and PhD in Continuing Education from the University of Warwick, England, led to substantive research as to the ways health professionals learn best from practice. Last but not least, she is the mother of a teenage son diagnosed as having high functioning autism, and she is an experienced advocate for families affected by autism.
Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1. How This Book Can Help. 2. Consultation and Health Assessment. 3. Going to Hospital. 4. Treatment. 5. Nursing Care Issues. 6. Social Support. Afterword. Appendix 1: `Fast Facts' about the autism spectrum. Appendix 2: Key reading and resources. References. Index.
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