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Access to Health Care *EXTENDED DEADLINE*

Special issue call for papers from Advances in Autism

Special Issue Call for Papers

Title of Journal: Advances in Autism

Special Issue Title: Access to Health Care

Guest Editors:

Tanja Sappok, Ev. Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth Herzberge, Berlin, Germany [email protected]
Whitney Brooks, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A. [email protected]
Susan Havercamp, Ohio State University, Ohio, U.S.A. [email protected]

Submission Procedure: 

Submissions to this journal are through the ScholarOne submission system here:

Please visit the author guidelines for the journal at  which gives full details. Please ensure you select this special issue from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.


Persons on the autism spectrum, with and without co-occurring diagnoses of intellectual developmental disorder (IDD), are susceptible to experiencing unmet medical needs, despite emerging evidence that they may experience higher rates of physical and mental health disorders than those in the general population.

A recent large population-based epidemiological study in Sweden showed 2.5-fold increased mortality rates and lowered life expectancies of approximately 16 years in persons with autism (Hirvikoski et al., 2016, BJP). In persons with co-occurring IDD, the increased risk for premature death was related to physical disorders, especially diseases of the nervous system and epilepsy; whereas persons without co-occurring IDD diagnoses displayed a significantly higher risk of premature death related to suicide.

Ensuring equal access to the health care system is a pivotal step in providing appropriate medical diagnostics and treatment to autistic individuals; yet obtaining adequate care remains challenging and many medical practitioners report limited training experiences and knowledge about working with autistic individuals (Nicolaidis et al., 2013).

Due to the various social, financial and mental and physical health-related challenges that persons with disabilities experience, it is critical that barriers to the health care system be identified and ameliorated to improve utilization of vital medical services for this potentially vulnerable population. However, current research on improving access to health care services for persons with autism is scarce (Johnson and Levine, 2014).

The aim of this special issue is to outline the current knowledge and recommendations and to stimulate research in this field. Specifically, we want to give persons on the autism spectrum, including their families and caregivers, a voice and to open a platform for exchange between professionals of various backgrounds. We aim to improve knowledge of medical health care providers about the perceptual and communicative differences of persons in the autism spectrum, which often prevent them from obtaining the medical care that they deserve.

Providing improved access to the health care system may improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental and physical illnesses, and thereby, the health status and wellbeing of autistic people. This recognition of the needs of persons on the autism spectrum may serve as a model for other social support systems, such as educational and occupational programs, and encourage an ethical discussion about inclusion of individuals with disabilities in social communities and networks.

According to the United Nations’ 2007 adopted convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, all people enjoy the right to a self-determined participation in society and an appropriate level of living and social appreciation. This societal mandate for accessibility should particularly be prioritized in the health care system, which provides services for one of the most basic human rights.


Submission Deadline: 28th Februrary 2017