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Barriers and Facilitators of Healthcare Access for Autistic Children in the UK: a Systematic Review

Babalola, T., Sanguedolce, G., Dipper, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5918-3898 & Botting, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-1082-9501 (2024). Barriers and Facilitators of Healthcare Access for Autistic Children in the UK: a Systematic Review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, doi: 10.1007/s40489-023-00420-3


Background: Individuals with autism are more likely to suffer from various physical and mental health problems and experience disparities in effectively accessing healthcare services. This review aims to identify studies that report on the experiences of autistic children, their parents/carers, and the healthcare professionals treating them; to develop an understanding of the facilitators and barriers to healthcare access in order to inform policies and practice to improve access to healthcare for autistic children in the UK.

Methods: A total of 3,069 records were screened, and twenty-four studies were included; six quantitative, four qualitative, and fourteen mixed-methodology studies.

Results: Professional and parental knowledge about autism, sensory issues, challenging behaviour, system-level barriers, patient-provider-parent communication issues, lack of person-centred care, stigma, and culture emerged as significant barriers to accessing healthcare for autistic children.

Conclusions: Families of autistic children experience several barriers to accessing healthcare. Recommendations for those planning services and clinicians are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Healthcare, Access, Review, Barriers, Facilitators, Children
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
SWORD Depositor:
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[thumbnail of JUNE 2023 PAPER -Barriers and Facilitators of Healthcare Access -RJADD.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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