Scoping Survey of Autism Care Resources: Social Integration of Diagnosis, Treatment, and Support Systems

While recognition and identification of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC)—including Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome—is growing globally, policy responses are lacking in many countries where mental health and disability services are underdeveloped and ASC diagnosis carries stigma and misunderstanding. Thus, despite increasing awareness of the needs of individuals with an ASC, system-level responses to these individuals’ needs are lacking. The establishment of a well-integrated infrastructure for the provision of healthcare, education, employment and social-welfare is the most crucial task to better serve the populations with ASC and their communities. It also helps to develop an evidence-informed guideline of “best public health practices” in a national policy.

Given the wide variation in the ASC resources across countries, this WUN programme develops an international collaborative network in order to systemically assess the capacity for resources and support at multiple levels for individuals with ASC; to comparatively analyze existing service gaps and appropriate policy responses; to promote a cross-regional understanding of the ways in which ASC functions within specific social-cultural formations; and to inform the development of public health policy in the WUN partner regions and globally. 

Conference

  • An international conference titled Autism: Global Challenges and Local Needs was held at CUHK on 16-17 January 2014. The conference was attended by over 150 internationally renowned scholars and local key stakeholders in autism research, practice and policy, including representatives from Heep Hong Society, Spastics Association of Hong Kong, and the Children's Institute of Hong Kong.
  • A symposium titled Genetics and Epidemiology in Autism was held at CUHK on 20 November 2014. The conference featured international speakers from the fields of genetics, genomics, neuroscience, and psychiatric epidemiology in autism, including Professor Joseph Buxbaum, founder and co-lead investigator of the Autism Sequencing Consortium. Local autism researchers and practitioners presented latest updates on healthcare systems for autism in Hong Kong, as well as interventions for individuals with autism and their families/communities.

Reports on the Conference

  • Prof. Huso Yi, JC School of Public Health & Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Dr Susan Malcolm-Smith, Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town
  • Professor Stuart Murray, Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leeds
  • Professor Darren Shickle, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds
  • Dr Clare Barker, School of English, University of Leeds

Public Health (Non-communicable Disease)