People who have learning disabilities and autism can become very ill or even die around twenty years prematurely. For this reason, there is an interest in how to assist health workers and carers in diagnosing a disease or illness in autistic children.
When it comes to children who have autism around a third of them will have extremely limited communications on a verbal level. Some learn to speak but will only do so when they are prompted to in single words or shortly learned phrases. Also there are specific health issues which come up every so often that all medical professionals, their advocates and the child with autism need to know about.
In the last few years, there are some fantastic resources now available associated with detecting an illness or disease in autistic adults or children that include Books Beyond Words that is a series that explains health issues using pictures. Another excellent resource includes Visual Pain Scales that makes use of sad to smiley faces or the photo-stories and videos in the Easyhealth site. Lots of healthcare positions, like BCBA, also specialize in autism.
The National Autistic Society encourages that all autistic children and adults should carry hospital or health passports. These are documents that are personalized and include relevant personal history, sensory idiosyncrasies, medical information and information in how the child may behave when stressed by an illness or their surroundings. Various health workers have found these particular passports extremely useful when they are faced with an autistic child with no speech and baffling behavior. However, to date, there have also been reports on that these particular documents have been ignored by those busy health professionals who do not take the time to read the information. Unfortunately, there are no statutory obligations in association to bearing in mind the health passport of an autistic adult or child.