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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


FORTEA SEVILLA, Mª del Sol; ESCANDELL BERMUDEZ, Mª Olga  and  CASTRO SANCHEZ, José Juan. Early Detection of Autism: Professionals Involved. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2013, vol.87, n.2, pp.191-199. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: The importance of early detection in order to improve the prognosis of children with developmental disorders, especially autism spectrum disorders (ASD), has been widely proven, clearly followed by the corresponding intervention. The aim of this work is to define the age at which the first signs of an autism spectrum disorder show up, the professionals that families go to, as well as delays confirming a diagnosis and the celerity offered by paediatricians. Method: A transversal, retrospective study carried out in 2010 in the Canary Islands. The voluntary cooperation of family associations, and families that received treatment in specialized centres was requested. 72 "Questionnaires for families of people with autism" were gathered. A descriptive analysis of frequencies was carried out, using the statistics programme SPSS Statistics 19. Results: In 79% of the cases it was the family who first suspected there was something wrong with the children's development, followed by teachers (15%) and health care staff (pediatricians 4% and psychologists, 2%). 69% of the children were first diagnosed before turning 3 years of age, 32% of them were diagnosed even before turning two years of age. The delay regarding diagnosis in the Canary Islands circa 16 months. Conclusions: Most parents of children with ASD were aware of the developmental disorders that their children were experiencing at around 18 months of age. A tendency to a faster response time by health care professionals was confirmed.

Keywords : Autistic disorder; Child development disorders; Signal detection; Psychological; Pediatrics; Behavioral symptoms; Parental notification; Early intervention.

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