A team of researchers, led by the paediatric neurologist Valeria Rojas, will develop a manual for the management of autism spectrum disorders for the Department of Mental Health of MINSAL (The Chilean Ministry of Health). The work consists in the search for evidence on interventions in order to develop public health policies and propose effective healthcare models applicable to the situation in Chile.
The UV team is formed by paediatric neurologists Juan Francisco Cabello and Claudia Amarales, CIESAL researchers Nicolás Meza and Eva Madrid and documentary filmmaker Camila Escobar from Cochrane Argentina.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with observable manifestations in behaviour that determine clinically significant interferences in social interaction and communication, as well as the presence of abnormal and repetitive behaviour and interests, in those who suffer from it.
Over the last few years, the Department of Paediatric Neurology has been engaged in the research and implementation of evidence-based strategies for the early detection of and intervention in ASD, as well as the development of tutorials, training of monitors and caregivers.
The advancement in knowledge about ASD has been reflected in new strategies to promote early learning, improve adaptability and increase the quality of life of children with ASD. One of the most interesting developments is the growing evidence regarding how ASD can be reliably diagnosed in children as young as fourteen months and the substantial benefits of early intervention. Thanks to brain neuroplasticity, interventions carried out before the age of two or three could counteract the cascade of developmental alterations, typical of ASD, hence mitigating the full manifestation of the symptoms.
As a consequence of this, the search, diagnosis and treatment processes should ideally be carried out early and efficiently to reduce disability and promote a better quality of life in children and their families.