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Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder Need Better Health Care Transition Services

June 25, 2014

Nancy Cheak-Zamora is an assistant professor in the MU School of Health Professions and a researcher at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She received a $500,000 Autism Research Program Idea Development Award to continue her research on health care transition services for young adults with autism.

Story By: MU News Bureau

COLUMBIA, Mo. –As of 2014, approximately one out of every 68 children born has an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Historically, less than one in four youth with ASD successfully transitions into a fully independent adult. Now, MU researcher Nancy Cheak-Zamora has received a $500,000 Autism Research Program Idea Development Award to continue her research on ways in which health care programs can help youth with ASD become independent adults.

“The majority of individuals with ASD currently are 18 years old or younger, which means an influx of adults with ASD will enter the health care system throughout the next decade,” said Cheak-Zamora, an assistant professor in the MU School of Health Professions and a researcher at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. “The U.S. health care system currently is unprepared to treat the needs of these adults. Previous research revealed that less than 25 percent of young adults with ASD secure employment, live independently, and possess adequate social networks. Young adults with ASD are less likely to gain the necessary skills to increase their independence, such as how to manage their personal health care.” More…