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Preschoolers worked up for autism: Parent and teacher experiences of the diagnostic process

Participants: Gunilla Westman Andersson, Carmela Miniscalco & Christopher Gillberg.

Background: Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are suggested to have a stressful life situation, but have often been recommended to “wait and see” when they have expressed concerns about their child. This study aimed to evaluate parents’ and preschool teachers’ experiences as regards time of first concern about the child and about the diagnostic process at a specialised Child Neuropsychiatry Clinic.

Method: Participants were parents and teachers of 34 preschool children with suspected ASD (mean age 37 months) drawn from a general population cohort. All the parents and teachers were invited to complete questionnaires.

Result: Most of the parents and teachers had their first concern about the child’s development before the child’s second birthday. Half of the parents had preferred for the diagnostic process to start even earlier than it did, and no one regretted that the diagnostic process had been performed. Both parents and teachers were satisfied with the diagnostic process at the clinic. The conclusions are that parents and teachers have very early concerns about children with suspected ASD, and that early diagnosis is considered important by parents and teachers.

Articles:

2014
Andersson, G.W., Gillberg, C., & Miniscalco C. (2014). Preschoolers assessed for autism: parent and teacher experiences of the diagnostic process. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35, 3392-3402.

Page Manager: Anna Spyrou|Last update: 6/1/2015
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