Behavioral and Mental Health Services among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Document Type


Presentation Date


Abstract or Description


The United States is one of the countries with the highest prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) globally. Behavioral therapy has shown to be effective in improving many of the social communication and interactions deficits associated with ASD. The recent inclusion of autism services into many health insurance plans necessitates a better understanding of the factors that influence the accessibility of behavioral treatment. This study sought to identify factors that influence the provision of behavioral health treatment to children with ASD.


The 2016 National Survey of Children with Special Healthcare Needs (NS-CSHCN) was used to select 1,218 respondents who had been told at some point in the past that their child (3-17 years) has autism, Asperger's Disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, or another autism spectrum disorder. Logistic regression evaluated the magnitude of association between behavioral health care needs for children with ASD and selected independent variables.


Parent-rated severity of autism, quality of care, and the extent to which the condition affected daily activities were significant predictors of access to behavioral treatment.


The suggestive clinical implication from the findings in this study is that some children with ASD do not have access to needed health services, especially mental health care that will help them to develop adequate communication and adaptive behavior skills. Despite the high annual cost of treatment and care for ASD, there is still a reported widespread dissatisfaction from parents on the availability of needed health services.

Additional Information

This presentation was given as part of the APHA 2019 Conference. The conference program is available online at: .


American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Expo


Philadelphia, PA

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