A Framework for Developing a Curriculum Regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders for Primary Care Providers SC01-SC06
Dr. Pankaj Garg,
20/37-43 Good Street, WESTMEAD, NSW 2145
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Introduction: The prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) has increased and varies across age groups. Thus there is an increasing need for educational opportunities for General Practitioners (GPs) and other Primary Care providers to help in early identification and referral to specialist services. An earlier survey of GPs in New South Wales (Australia) demonstrated two broad domains for educational activities: (1) a general knowledge (important for early identification and referral) and (2) surveillance (important for ongoing management).
Aim: To seek further evidence to these domains and synthesize the important contents for educational programs for GPs.
Materials and Methods: We conducted a (1) Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) on our original survey data and (2) systematic review of the literature to identify important educational topics, using a life cycle approach.
Results: CFA and literature review support theoretical framework of two domains. Alerts and red flags for ASDs, knowledge of simple surveillance tools, communication of diagnosis with parents, referral pathways particularly to speech pathologists before a formal diagnosis is confirmed, and appreciation of vulnerabilities for identifying supports were important in the general knowledge domain, while supporting the families through transition points such as from pre-school to school entry, secondary school and adolescence, role of psychopharmacology such as medications for sleep issues, and for common co-morbidities of anxiety were important in the surveillance dimension.
Conclusion: GP supervisors and medical and nursing educators can use findings from this paper for developing structured learning activities for training primary health care workforce regarding ASDâ€™s.