The struggle to find care from clinicians who understand ASD

"What we want to be doing is working with young people to allow them to understand their differences, accept and own them, not have them be seen ... as character flaws," - Monica Adler Werner



This article highlights the struggle that a family in the metropolitan area of D.C had, to find resources for their autistic son Alex Roodman. Mai Pham, a medical insurance expert, would appear to be well equipped to find resources for her son, who was struggling with transitioning into adulthood. However, as many parents of children with ASD experience, she was met with a lack of network resources, and numerous hoops to jump through to find support for her child.

If a family in “An area with the highest concentration of child and adolescent psychiatrists in the U.S,” cannot find adequate resources for their child, it is no wonder that for families in rural areas it can feel almost impossible. This is unacceptable.


Although the health care system has improved, there is still a long way to go, and as this article highlights, this is especially the case in rural areas...

Here on the north coast people often have to drive long distances, or pay for private help to see specialists, which isn’t an option for many families. An article in Pediatric Research (2021)₁ stated, “Families living outside metropolitan areas have less access to care for ASD than those in urban areas, often due to a shortage of specialists.”


At OARS, we are aiming to change this; providing support, care and community in a rural area to the neurodivergent population.

Mai Pham found that the lack of training among pediatricians and medical providers for neurodivergent clients was often the gap which often leads to referrals to specialists. Pham aimed to change that, after struggling to find care for her own son Alex Roodman, by changing her career to change the system from within. Read more about their story in this article:


https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/02/12/1077374722/kids-with-autism-struggle-to-adapt-to-adulthood-one-doctor-is-trying-to-change-t



1.Malik-Soni, N., Shaker, A., Luck, H. et al. Tackling healthcare access barriers for individuals with autism from diagnosis to adulthood. Pediatr Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01465-y


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