Working Together for Kids With Autism

Autism treatments chosen by parents and doctors working together lead to more satisfaction

(RxWiki News) There are many treatments for kids with autism. Parents may be happier with their child’s care if they work with the doctor to pick the best options.

In a recent study, parents of kids with autism were happier with their child’s treatment when they helped make decisions for their child. Shared decision-making is something that parents and doctors can work towards.

"Ask your doctor about treatment options for your child."

Shared decision-making is the term used to mean that a doctor starts a discussion with parents about treatment options.

Using this style, doctors don’t give a treatment plan. They work with parents to decide what treatments are best for a child.

Researchers, led by Allison Golnik, MD, of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, asked parents of kids with autism about their doctor’s style.

They sent surveys to 203 parents of kids with autism between the ages of 3 and 18. Of the surveys sent out, 103 parents, or 64 percent, sent their survey back to the researchers.

The survey asked parents about how much they asked their doctor for information on autism. It also asked about their satisfaction with the care their child was getting.

Parents were also asked to rate how often their child’s doctor told them about the options and talked about the reasons for and against any options.

They were also asked to rate how often the doctor gave them a choice of treatments and asked them to weigh in on the decisions.

They found that parents who felt they were part of the decision-making for their child also reported being happier with care.

Parents with higher levels of shared decision-making were also more likely to say they felt informed about their child’s care.

The study was published in August in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  Funding for this study was provided by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
August 19, 2012