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Vol. 11 - Num. 17


Autistic spectrum disorders. Early detection, screening tools

Pedro Manuel Ruiz-Lázaroa, M Posada de la Pazb, Francisco Hijano Banderac

aProfesor Asociado Ciencias de la Salud. Universidad de Zaragoza. Psiquiatría Infantojuvenil. Hospital Clínico Universitario Lozano Blesa. Investigador Asociado del Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud I+CS. Zaragoza. España.
bJefe de Área del Instituto de Investigación en Enfermedades Raras. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Madrid. España.
cPediatra. CS Monterrozas. Las Rozas. Madrid. España.

Reference of this article: Ruiz-Lázaro PM, Posada de la Paz M, Hijano Bandera F. Autistic spectrum disorders. Early detection, screening tools. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2009;11 (Supl 17):s381-397.

Published in Internet: 31-12-2009 - Visits: 29421


The term, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) groups 5 clinical conditions according to the DSM-IV-TR, eight if we follow the ICD-10 Classification of the World Health Organisation.

All of them are characterised by qualitative social interaction difficulties, with lack of empathy and social reciprocity, inability to recognise and respond to gestures or expressions, communication difficulties, lack of flexibility in reasoning and behaviour, with a restricted, stereotyped and repetitive activities and interests.

It is a prevalent disorder, which predominates in males and the symptoms are gene-rally evident between 18 and 24 months of age, this being a reason for the delay in diagnosis. An early intervention program must be introduced to monitor PSD over the longterm, performing systematic screening between 18-24 months of age ( M-CHAT) and in particular, taking into account the concerns expressed by the parents as an important sign of alarm. The definitive diagnosis will be made by a multidisciplinary team expert in ASD, who will use more specific diagnostic tools like ADI-R and ADOS. There is evidence that interventions are more effective when started early, between 2 and 4 years of age. As well as all this, the associated medical problems have to be attended to. We must know the pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for problematic behaviours, and offer training and support ,to the families, who should be aware of controversial treatments, not supported by scientific evidence, so that they may act with caution with those.


Alternative therapies Autistic spectrum disorders Diagnosis Early care Treatment



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