Profile of Service Use and Barriers to Access to Care among Brazilian Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Brain Sciences
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Araripe B.
Montiel-Nava C.
Bordini D.
Cunha G.R.
Garrido G.
Cukier S.
Garcia R.
Rosoli A.
Valdez D.
Caetano S.C.
Rattazzi A.
Paula C.S.
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© 2022 by the authors.Delayed diagnosis and a lack of adequate care for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are related to worse outcomes and quality of life. This study aimed to identify the profile of service use, barriers to access care, and factors related to those barriers in Brazilian families with children with ASD. A total of 927 families with children with ASD (3–17 years) from five Brazilian regions completed an online version of the Caregivers Needs Survey. Results showed that the most used services were behavioral interventions and pharmacotherapy, while the most used professionals were neurologists, nutritionists, speech therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and pediatricians. The main barriers included waiting lists, costs, and the absence of services or treatment. Service use varied according to age, the region of residence, type of health care system used, and the parents/caregivers’ education. Access to behavioral interventions was more frequent among users of the private system/health insurance and families whose caregivers had higher education. The absence of specialized services/treatments was less frequent among residents of state capitals and families whose caregivers had higher levels of education. This study highlights how families with children/adolescents with ASD in Brazil face significant barriers to access care related to sociodemographic factors.
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