Article Text

3-YEAR ACTIVITY IN A DEVELOPMENTAL CENTRE OF A PORTUGUESE PAEDIATRIC HOSPITAL: AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS CLINIC REVIEW
  1. A L Fernandes1,
  2. A C Pereira1,
  3. M Pinto2,
  4. M C Vale2
  1. 1Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, D Estefania’s Hospital, Lisbon, Portugal
  2. 2Child Developmental Centre, D Estefania’s Hospital, Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract

Objective To evaluate demographic, educational, developmental and clinical characteristics of the population with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) attending this centre, which started activity in 2004. We aim to understand these children’s profits from the centre’s intervention in order to improve our performance.

Methods Information was obtained by clinical file direct review.

Results 90 children were diagnosed with ASD (75 male, 15 female). Ages ranged from 11 months to 16 years, peaking at the 2–5 years group. Over 56% presented autistic disorder, 21% PDD-NOS and 19% Asperger; one child had Heller disorder. Most of the children underwent cognitive evaluation and 61% had some level of cognitive impairment. Co-morbidities were present in 13% (attention deficit disorder, specific learning impairment, oppositional disorder). In 7% a possible organic aetiology was identified. One-third received pharmacological support and the majority benefited from early intervention (structured cognitive behavioural programmes, social training, motor training, augmentative communication), special education support, vocational counselling and/or speech and language therapy.

Conclusions In comparison with the literature, we found more children with autistic disorder than Asperger or PDD-NOS (probably because our referrals were in the more severe end of the spectrum). A normal-range IQ was also found more often than we expected. Our organic aetiology diagnostic rate was lower and we may need to review our medical approach. The highest benefit from our intervention besides diagnosis was a good oriented support and provision of early intervention network.

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