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staying healthy

Useful Information about Preventive Care

Regular screening are key to better health across the lifespan

This downloadable and printable Autism Preventive Health Table was developed as part of the Harvard Medical School’s course, Clinical Care for Autistic Adults. It lists baseline preventive health care screenings and immunizations for autistic adults. The intended audience is primary care physicians but feel free to use as a reference and to share with your PCPs or other providers. Key points for caregivers and self-advocates to note:

Schedule all annual exams well in advance so that the appointment happens at a time of year and time of day that works best for the patient/family.

If possible, gather information about health conditions that can run in families such as heart problems, cancer, diabetes, depression, and addiction. This information can help identify the most important screenings and how often they should be done.


A guide to share with providers for preventive health care

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The information on the table is based on the following sources:

Adult Immunization Schedule by Age, CDC, 2023.

CDC: Cancer Screening Tests. Accessed on April 1, 2023.

Dhanasekara CS, Ancona D, Cortes L, et al. Association Between Autism Spectrum Disorders and Cardiometabolic Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2023;177(3):248-257. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.5629

Isenberg BM, Yule AM, McKowen JW, Nowinski LA, Forchelli GA, Wilens TE. Considerations for Treating Young People With Comorbid Autism Spectrum Disorder and Substance Use Disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2019;58(12):1139-1141. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2019.08.467

Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Adult Screening Recommendations 2019, on April 1, 2023.

Schick, Elizabeth, Is It Safe to Sedate our Son at the Dentist? Autism Speaks. 2014. Accessed on April 1, 2023.

Screening and Preventive Interventions for Oral Health in Children 5 Years and Older and Adults, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Accessed on April 1, 2023.

Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines, 2021, CDC. Accessed on April 1, 2023.

Dr. James Bath, a primary care physician for autistic adults at the MGH Lurie Center for Autism, discusses the importance of preventive care as key to a long, healthy life:

Dr. James Bath, Adult Primary Care Physician at the MGH Lurie Center for Autism