By: Meghana Reddy
A road trip can be a fun experience: visiting new places, seeing new things, being in a different environment away from home.
But road trips aren’t always for vacationing. Sometimes, one has to travel in search of something they just don’t have access to where they live. They travel out of necessity.
Let’s say, for example, a family from Vermont has an autistic child. The child might not express any discomfort they may be feeling, if at all. Parents may become concerned that there are other internal issues with body systems that aren’t apparent at first glance.
So, the parents, not knowing what specific problems their child is having, may decide to visit their doctor. After examination and scans, they find out that the child has an issue in their GI (gastrointestinal) tract, and has allergies. Then, the doctor refers to specialists, who have experience in dealing with autistic patients with those particular problems.
It sounds like a methodical way of addressing the effects of any disorder … but there’s a catch. The nearest specialists who have the necessary experience with autism are states away, the GI specialist in New York and the allergy specialist in Ohio. The family now has to travel to one specialist that’s far away, spend money, time and effort. And THEN, they still have visit the other doctor. It's a long, tiresome journey.
As difficult as it may be, we have to find a way to address the lack of specialists across the country, and bridge the gap between the patients and their doctors in an effective way.
But it will take years before we get the number of specialists that are required around the country to address autism-specific treatments. The time and the effort that is required to physically visit a specialist is not always possible for many families of autistic children, if parents are at home full-time taking care of their children, or working to support them.
As difficult as the situation is now, there still may be hope for a solution. This issue I will be discussing in my next post, a way to link healthcare providers with those in need of their input.