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Scrambling for Care: Autism in Rural America

The path to autism diagnosis and intervention has always been arduous, but families in small towns with limited access to healthcare services are at a much greater disadvantage. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the surge in virtual services for autism has offered clinicians and researchers a unique opportunity to bring care to the home of geographically underserved communities. Through interviews with autism researchers, health experts, and family members of autistic individuals, this two-part project takes a look at the barriers to autism care in rural America, and the potential and limitations of telehealth to expand access to services.

Shafaq Zia
Written by
Shafaq Zia

Shafaq Zia’s journey as a science communicator began when her brother was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Since then, she has found herself explaining ASD to family members, friends, and even strangers.

She was first introduced to science writing at Northwestern University in Qatar, where she earned a degree in journalism and served as the managing editor of The Daily Q. As a reporting intern for STAT, she covered the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as emerging research in healthcare technology.

At the GPSW, Shafaq plans to report on healthcare, combining her fascination with science and love for storytelling to produce breaking news and longform pieces.

Shafaq Zia Written by Shafaq Zia