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Neurological consultation with an autistic patient
  1. Miriam Cooper1,2,
  2. Katherine Gale1,
  3. Kate Langley3,
  4. Thomas Broughton2,
  5. Thomas H Massey2,
  6. Nicola J Hall4,
  7. Catherine R G Jones5
  1. 1 Neurodevelopmental Service, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Merthyr Tydfil, UK
  2. 2 MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  3. 3 School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  4. 4 Parent representative, Cardiff, UK
  5. 5 Wales Autism Research Centre, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Miriam Cooper, Neurodevelopmental Service, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 1BZ, UK; CooperML1{at}


Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition with a very heterogeneous presentation. Autistic people are more likely to have unmet healthcare needs, making it essential that healthcare professionals are ‘autism-aware’. In this article, we provide an overview of how autism presents and use case studies to illustrate how a neurological consultation in an outpatient clinic environment could prove challenging for a autistic person. We suggest how to improve communication with autistic patients in clinic and highlight the importance of a patient-centred and flexible approach.

  • autism
  • psychology
  • applied
  • psychiatry

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  • Contributors MC and KG wrote the first draft of the manuscript. KL, TB and CRGJ made major additions. MC, NJH, THM and CRGJ developed and refined the case studies. THM edited the manuscript. All authors approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests MC has spoken about the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Neurodevelopmental Service at conferences hosted by Takeda (formerly Shire) and Flynn Pharma. These talks were not related to the content of this article and MC did not receive personal payment. There are no competing interests for any other authors.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed by Rhys Thomas, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, Mark Manford, Cambridge, UK, and Sofia Eriksson, London, UK.

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