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21-02-2019 | Commentary | Uitgave 5/2020

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 5/2020

A Systematic Network of Autism Primary Care Services (SYNAPSE): A Model of Coproduction for the Management of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 5/2020
Xuejun Kong, Jun Liu, Tiffany Chien, Maren Batalden, David A. Hirsh
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Jun Liu—equal contribution as co-first author.

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The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is growing rapidly, affecting 1 in 59 children in the United States in 2018. Individuals with ASD currently receive fragmented care that threatens their health and well-being. Challenges of autism care include disconnections between the medical system and school supports, poor care coordination between primary care and specialists, and saturation of neuropsychiatry-based centers’ capacity to care for the ASD population. ASD treatment also lacks of a coordinated system of care for patients’ multi-system comorbidities. Families are calling for an ASD care delivery system to meet their needs and the needs of their children. To serve people with ASD and their medical and other providers, we propose a coordinated approach to care grounded in primary care. We call the model the “Systematic Network of Autism Primary Care Services (SYNAPSE).” We develop the model by applying the frameworks of “coproduction” of care and chronic disease management. In this Commentary we discuss the model’s rationale, underpinnings, and the implications for clinical practice. We advance these ideas to align with policy makers’ recognition of the importance of primary care for ASD, as reflected by the most recent Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) meeting at the National Institute of Mental Health.

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