Medical Procedures: Challenges and Strategies

  • Jill Pineda
  • Jennifer MullettEmail author
Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) does not prevent individuals from having other comorbid medical problems or diseases, and medical tests and procedures may be necessary as part of the evaluation and treatment of these conditions. Medical procedures may also be ordered to determine potential medical causes of behavioral concerns in individuals with ASD. Regardless of the presentation and underlying cause, the medical work-up and procedures may elicit anxiety and agitation in patients of all ages. There are, however, several strategies that clinicians can employ to reduce distress and discomfort among patients with ASD during procedures, which will be reviewed in this chapter. In performing procedures on individuals with ASD, clinicians should take into consideration the individual’s preferred mode of communication, acknowledge latency or lack of response to directions, and attempt to minimize extraneous stimuli that could exacerbate the behavioral response to a new environment. The specific approach to general and specialized medical care may require modifications depending on the age and cognitive abilities of the patient.


Procedures Behavioral modifications Strategies Communication Visual supports Desensitization 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuropsychology Department, Kennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Lurie Center for AutismLexingtonUSA

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