Is Medication Information for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Monitored and Coordinated Across Professionals? Findings from a Teacher Survey
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- Koegel, L.K., Krasno, A.M., Taras, H. et al. School Mental Health (2013) 5: 48. doi:10.1007/s12310-012-9098-5
Prescription medications are commonly used for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, there is little research regarding how the effect of medication is monitored across settings once prescribed. The present study addressed this issue for children with ASD in school by administering a questionnaire to teachers of students with ASD who were and were not being given medication. Specifically, the questionnaire assessed the teachers’ knowledge about whether the child was being given medication, and whether behavior changes or side effects were being communicated in any way to the child’s family and prescribing physician. The results showed that for children who were being given medication, fewer than half of the teachers reported knowing the child was being given medication. For those children who were not being given medication, only 53 % of the teachers reported correct information for their students. Of the teachers who knew their students were being given medication, all reported that they were not conferring with the child’s prescribing physician regarding behavioral observations or side effects. Whether teachers are blind to the medication types and dosage the students are being given or not, some type of communication to physicians about the children’s behavior at school is important. Given the importance of monitoring medication for children with ASD, implications for system change, for professionals and for funding agencies, are discussed.