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Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 1516-4446


BRENTANI, Helena et al. Autism spectrum disorders: an overview on diagnosis and treatment. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2013, vol.35, suppl.1, pp.S62-S72. ISSN 1516-4446.

Pervasive developmental disorders are now commonly referred to as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). ASDs present with a range of severity and impairments, and often are a cause of severe disability, representing a major public health concern. The diagnostic criteria require delays or abnormal functioning in social interaction, language, and/or imaginative play within the first 3 years of life, resulting in a deviation from the developmental pattern expected for the age. Because establishing a diagnosis of ASD is possible as early as 18-24 months of age, clinicians should strive to identify and begin intervention in children with ASD as soon as signs are manifest. Increasing efforts are underway to make ASD screening universal in pediatric healthcare. Given the crucial importance of early identification and multiple modalities of treatment for ASD, this review will summarize the diagnostic criteria, key areas for assessment by clinicians, specific scales and instruments for assessment, and discussion of evidence-based treatment programs and the role of specific drug therapies for symptom management.

Keywords : Autistic disorder; pervasive development disorders; diagnosis, treatment.

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