H-CARDD Conversations: Young Adults

We shared the H-CARDD snapshot about Health and Health Service Use of Young Adults with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities with two experts in the field and asked them to respond to the H-CARDD research findings. If you also have a question or comment about young adults with developmental disabilities transitioning into adult health care, register with Portico and join the conversation. 

Dr. Khush Amaria (PhD, C. Psych.) is the Team Lead for the Good 2 Go Transition Program at the Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto and works to build evidence-based practices that support the transition and empowerment of youth through, both their own development, and the health care system. This includes leading Adolescent Medicine's Transition Clinic—an outpatient program that provides treatment and support to adolescents struggling with transitions issues.

Watch a webinar by Dr. Amaria: Transitioning to the future: paediatric to adult health care transition for Canadian youth to learn about newly emerging national guidelines for transition planning from Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres (CAPHC). 

What did you find important about this research?

It quantified some of what we already believed, that youth with developmental disabilities have different rates of psychiatric and other health problems.

How might you use this information in your work?

We'd like to integrate this research in our typical education events around the hospital (and wider community). The Good 2 Go Transition Program at SickKids, Toronto tries to provide education to all types of health professionals on the importance of supporting transition planning early for any youth with special health care needs. This population clearly has some additional risks that need to be addressed in the paediatric (under 18) system.

Do you foresee any challenges in using this information in your work?

There are gaps in understanding what actually happens or why youth/adolescents are using health services at a higher rate – is it because it is necessary or is it possible, some of their needs could be better serviced in other settings or with earlier interventions?

How do these findings relate to what you already knew or thought?

I was surprised by the rates of ED use for psychiatric reasons as being equivalent for youth with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

Do you have any questions or comments about this research?

It's great to see snapshots of work such as this in an easy to understand presentation. Looking forward to learning additional details about the research and more about the next steps.

 

Dr. Melanie Penner (MD, FRCP(C)) is a clinical investigator and developmental pediatrician at Holland Bloorbiew Kids Rehabiliation Hospital's Autism Research Centre, Toronto. Dr. Penner's clinical and research interests are in autism spectrum disorder. In particular, she is interested in service delivery for this population, including evaluating the impact and cost-effectiveness of new care models. 

What did you find important about this research?

Transition to adult services is thought to be a high risk time for people with developmental disorders, but we still don't know enough about what services these young adults are using and how they compare to the general population. This study provides some important data to inform medical education and service delivery strategies to support a vulnerable stage in life.

How might you use this information in your work?

I participate in a psychopharmacology clinic, which involves providing medical and behavioural supports for children with neurodevelopmental disorders who have behavioural challenges. This study highlights the importance of transition planning. I always try to start transition planning early, and this work provides additional motivation to plan ahead.

Do you foresee any challenges in using this information in your work?

The biggest challenge I face is finding a provider to accept care of my patients once they cross over to the adult side. Not only is it often difficult to find someone with expertise in managing psychopharmacology in young adults with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders, but it is often equally difficult to find a primary care provider to manage routine health surveillance. My concern is that if there is not adequate primary care, the demand for emergency services will be higher.

How do these findings relate to what you already knew or thought?

As noted above, I believe that this population can be quite vulnerable during the transition to adult life. In order to make the transition process successful, we need health care providers who can bridge the pediatric and adult systems of care.

Do you have any questions or comments about this research?

This work is very important because it lays the foundation for improving care to young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders. 

 

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