Medical Services

A comprehensive health care program for adults with autism

Written by a Contributing Writer of FIU News

April 21st, 2014

Autism doesn’t just affect children. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism and sometimes specialized attention can make a big difference.

FIU Health is launching FIU Embrace, a comprehensive and integrated clinical and training program dedicated to providing medical and behavioral health care to adults with autism spectrum disorder.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that Florida is home to more than 200,000 individuals of all ages living with autism and related disorders. They often experience disparities in key health indicators like obesity, mental health and access to health services.

Parents, advocates and autism specialists acknowledge that many physicians are hesitant or unsure how to talk to and examine adult patients who have autism. Many adults with autism go long periods without a physical exam and sometimes doctors miss complications because patients cannot adequately communicate their symptoms.

“Our main goal is to reduce these disparities and the challenges faced by adults with autism spectrum disorder as they try to navigate our medical system and obtain health care services,” said Dr. Daniel Castellanos, professor and founding chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

During FIU Embrace office visits, for example, all patient care and laboratory services will be provided in the same examination room, minimizing the number of changes and transitions to ensure a more positive patient experience and improved health outcomes.

FIU Embrace services will be offered one Saturday a month starting May 17, 2014 at The FIU Health office on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, 885 SW 109th Avenue, PG5, Suite 131 in West Miami-Dade County.

Initial services provided will include primary care, gynecology, psychiatry and behavioral health, family emotional support, and laboratory and other diagnostic tests.

“Having trained personnel who are familiar with sensory and behavioral issues will result in a more positive health care experience and improved health outcomes for our patients,”  Dr. Castellanos said.

To make an appointment call FIU Health at 305- FIU-DOCS / 305- 348-3627.

Find the original article here.

Editor’s Note: This article was written when FIU Embrace was solely a program of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and FIU Health. FIU Embrace has now expanded to become a university-wide initiative offering numerous programs and research projects aimed at helping individuals with developmental disabilities, such as: autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.