Early Detection and intervention
The work carried out within the ESSEA COST Action project for the past four years has revealed that there is tremendous variability among EU Member States in terms of procedures for early detection and treatment of ASD. Although there are no recent studies on age of detection and diagnosis in the European framework, many studies have found that a significant proportion of children are detected and diagnosed at a very late age. Various studies have been carried out in some European countries, which have evaluated screening experiences both in the field of health services and in early childhood education, but those experiences are not yet widespread within the routine practices of health and educational services in the respective countries.
Intervention programs also have an unequal distribution in Europe. The implementation of intervention programs should be studied in detail in order to understand and solve the problem that a majority of families of young children with ASD have difficulties in quickly accessing treatment, especially if they are socially disadvantaged.
To these difficulties in accessing treatment programs should be added that families of children with ASD in Europe face the fact that there is no criteria developed to guide practitioners on how they could approach more effective treatments, because although there are many treatment studies and several systematic reviews reporting on the effectiveness of different intervention techniques, degrees of intensity and duration of treatment, etc., the results of these studies have not been transferred to guidelines regarding intervention.
Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a review of the experiences of intervention conducted in European countries to obtain information, not only on the most common procedures and techniques, but about how intervention programs are tested and what general conclusions can be drawn from them.
Painting by Elbio Fernández Sara. Person diagnosed of autism.
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