Health care providers' awareness on medical management of children with autism spectrum disorder: cross-sectional study in Russia

BMC Med Educ. 2022 Jan 10;22(1):29. doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-03095-8.


Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental range of conditions that involves difficulties with social interaction and restricted/repetitive behaviors. Unfortunately, health care providers often experience difficulties in diagnosis and management of individuals with ASD, and may have no knowledge about possible ways to overcome barriers in ASD patient interactions in healthcare settings. At the same time, the provision of appropriate medical services can have positive effects on habilitative progress, functional outcome, life expectancy and quality of life for individuals with ASD.

Methods: This online survey research study evaluated the awareness and experience of students/residents (n = 247) and physicians (n = 100) in the medical management of children with ASD. It also gathered the views and experiences of caregivers to children with ASD (n = 158), all based in Russia.

Results: We have established that the Russian medical community has limited ASD knowledge among providers, and have suggested possible reasons for this. Based on results from online surveys completed by students/residents, non-psychiatric physicians, and caregivers of children diagnosed with ASD, the main problems pertaining to medical management of individuals with ASD were identified. Possible problem solving solutions within medical practice were proposed.

Conclusions: The results from this study should be considered when implementing measures to improve healthcare practices, and when developing models for effective medical management, due to start not only in Russia but also in a number of other countries.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Health care providers’ awareness; Online survey.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires