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Demographic and Clinical Characteristics Associated with Engagement in Behavioral Health Treatment Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

This study investigates demographic and clinical factors associated with initiation, continuation, and adherence to behavioral health treatment (BHT) among children with autism spectrum disorder. Among 293 insured children referred for applied behavior analysis (ABA) based BHT, 23% never initiated treatment. Among those initiating treatment, 31% discontinued treatment within 1 year of treatment initiation, and only 15% received 80% or more of recommended treatment hours. Younger age at referral to treatment, private health insurance, and receiving more than 10 h/week of BHT were associated with treatment engagement. Co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions were related to treatment discontinuation among children 5 years or older. These findings suggest specific subgroups that may benefit from additional support with engaging in recommended behavioral health treatment.

Authors: Croen LA; Shankute N; Davignon M; Massolo ML; Yoshida C

J Autism Dev Disord. 2017 Jul 26.

PubMed abstract

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