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Sunday
Sep042011

Study: School-Based Health Services Favored by Autistic Teens 

Creatas Images/Thinkstock edit Delete caption(ST. LOUIS) -- Many autistic teens look toward their school’s mental health services for treatment, a new study reports.

HealthDay reports that data was collected over the span of 10 years from over 920 autistic adolescents—aged 13 to 17— enrolled in special education.

The study began in 2000 and found that more than 46 percent of autistic teens relied on some form of a mental health service in the past year for help with their condition. Of those students, 49 percent used mental health services at their school.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that black teens and those from lower income families were more likely to seek mental health services from their respective schools.

The findings point to the necessity for transition plans for mental health services to be instated as teens with autism leave high school and receive services elsewhere, said study author and social work doctoral candidate Sarah Narendorf.

"Those that have accessed services at school are especially at risk for service discontinuities as they lose access to services through the school," Narendorf said in a university news release. "This is especially important for African-American and low-income students who are more likely to get their services in the school setting."

Findings were published in the August issue of Psychiatric Services.

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