Community Introduction of Practice Parameters for Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Advancing Early Recognition

Holzer, Laurent ; Mihailescu, Raluca ; Rodrigues-Degaeff, Catherine ; Junier, Laurent ; Muller-Nix, Carole ; Halfon, Oliver ; Ansermet, François

In: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2006, vol. 36, no. 2, p. 249-262

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    Objectives: Within a strong interdisciplinary framework, improvement in the quality of care for children with autistic spectrum disorders through a 2year implementation program of Practice Parameters, aimed principally at improving early detection and intervention. Method: We developed Practice Parameters (PPs) for Pervasive Developmental Disorders and circulated the PPs to all child and adolescent psychiatrists practicing in the region. Results: PP development and parallel information strategies resulted in a significant decrease of 1.5years in the mean-age-at-diagnosis. However, further analysis indicated that improvement was only transient. Conclusion: Despite the encouraging improvement in mean-age-at-diagnosis 2years after PP implementation, other indicators showed a failure to maintain the improvements. A systematic screening program would be the most reliable method to reinforce the PPs