Children with Intellectual Disability (ID) have less access to medical care than children with autism, according to a new study from researchers at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. The study was led by second-year medical student Kelly Haller, with help from assistant professor of pediatrics Adrienne Stolfi.
According to a report this month by Medical Xpress.com, Haller said she wondered whether children with Intellectual Disability were being left behind due to the increased media and medical attention being given to children with autism. Finding that her question was under-explored in published literature, Haller began looking at data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which conducts a National Survey of Children’s Health every few years.
For her study, Haller used data from the 2016-2017 survey, in which 71,510 families participated. After analyzing the data to find any discrepancies in health care between children with autism children and children with ID, Haller found that children with ID are “more likely to have unmet healthcare needs for medical, dental, hearing and vision care than children with ASD. Additionally, children with ID are less likely than children with ASD to have consistent health insurance, which hinders their ability to receive quality, sufficient care.”
The study also found that, while children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have unmet mental health care needs, their access to mental health care is reasonable. For the next phase of her research, Haller plans to compare the 2016 to 2017 surveys with later years. She also plans to compare the data state by state, studying how laws in different states have affected access to health care for children with autism and intellectual disability.