Interacting With Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Jayne Jennings Dunlap, MSN, FNP-C


Am Nurs Today. 2018;13(4) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


HAVE YOU EVER FELT unprepared to navigate nursing encounters with patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? If so, you're not alone. Many healthcare professionals report a lack of self-confidence when caring for patients with ASD.

In the 1970s, autism prevalence was estimated to affect one in 10,000 people. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in 68 children are identified with ASD. People with ASD have been appraised to have more unmet healthcare needs than any other special-needs population. These health inequities are primarily attributed to significant socialization and communication barriers. As the largest and most trusted workforce in healthcare, nurses must be prepared to address this vulnerable group across all settings throughout the lifespan.