A Massachusetts hospital will create one of the nation’s first medical programs devoted entirely to adults with autism.

The new adult program will expand upon a pediatric autism center already in place at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the hospital is expected to announce Tuesday.

The need for an adult-focused medical center is great, experts say. Autism diagnoses began to explode in the 1980s and those children are now becoming adults. Many of these individuals have difficulty communicating, which can make doctors uncomfortable treating them. In fact, a report earlier this year from The Arc of Massachusetts found that adults with autism and other developmental disabilities often continue to see pediatricians well into adulthood because they lack other options.

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The program at Massachusetts General Hospital is expected to be far more comprehensive than any other in existence. In addition to treating adults with autism, the new center will help train primary care doctors, emergency room staff and those involved with surgery to better treat and interact with adult patients who have autism, reports The Boston Globe. To read more click here.

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