By: Meghana Reddy
Because the healthcare that may be necessary for autistic patients isn’t always accessible, families have to travel around the country in order to find the doctor their child needs, and get a consultation with them.
But what if you need more than one doctor? What if the child has not only digestive bleeding, but allergies that also need to be treated? If you want to fully get rid of these co-morbidities (diseases or symptoms that occur at the same time as the primary disorder, autism), you would need to consult at least two specialists.
Say the family talks to the digestive specialist first. The digestive specialist assesses the problem, and prescribes a medication specifically to stop gastro-intestinal bleeding. After this, the family travels to the allergy specialist for consultation. They are told that the digestive medication has an ingredient that the child is allergic to; if the child took the medication, her allergies would get even worse.
Now what’s the family supposed to do?! One of the medications that supposed to improve their child’s health in one aspect will make it worse in another. The family is back to square one, unable to use the advice the doctors gave them – and they don’t have any other alternatives.
Because there’s no guarantee that specialists’ opinions will complement each other, the process keeps going on and on and on; the parents are exhaustively trying to find the right resources for their child. Not only is rarity of the right doctors for certain conditions and issues, but differing opinions between professionals can add to the mix as well. Different sources may give them different information that may not reconcile.
So… what are the parents supposed to do now? Most keep trying to consult different doctors to figure out the best option.
But because of the current level and nature of care, there’s no set plan, no way of establishing a priority list for effectively addressing autism’s effects on an individual. The parents are left confused, desperate, and trying their best – but the child remains without adequate care.
But with a multidisciplinary team approach to the identification and treatment of the complicated medical co-morbidities of autism, this can all change. With a multidisciplinary approach, medical experts can gather via videoconference and create the best treatment plan for each individual child, right then and there. This approach is becoming more widely used across the country as an easy, quick, and thorough way of giving a child the care they deserve, and giving the parents a straightforward treatment plan to follow.
Because even if we don’t yet have a cure for autism, we can still improve on our current system of treatment. This is just the beginning.