ESCAP International Congress, Geneva 9-11 July 2017
Symposia at the 2017 ESCAP Congress (Geneva) on autism, organized by the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research – Synapsy.
Understanding mechanisms of change in children with ASD who receive intervention
Chair: Marie Schaer, Co-Chair: Christine M. Freitag.
Autism spectrum disorders are a heterogeneous group of pervasive neurodevelopmental disorders that affects up to 1 in 68 children. ASD manifest with deficits in social communication, and the presence of repetitive behaviors or restricted interests, appearing before the age 3. To date, behavioral interventions have proven effective to get the most optimal long-term benefits, either with early intensive intervention for preschoolers or cognitive remediation for school-age children and adolescents with ASD. However, we still don’t understand well the neurodevelopmental mechanisms by which these interventions work. In this symposium, researchers will present different ways of measuring how much and by which mechanisms behavioral intervention might help affected children.
Early intervention in preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): the Swiss experience in 5 university centers
Chair: Stephan Eliez, Co-Chair: Joaquin Fuentes.
The last decade has taught us that the most effective method for minimizing the impact of autism spectrum disorders symptoms was early intensive behavioral intervention. While many different approaches have been proposed, it seems that the first three years of life may represent a “window of opportunity”, to get the most optimal long-term benefits. The intensity of intervention is also critical, with some programs offering up to 20h of individual therapy per week. In this symposium, we will share the experience of 5 university centers in Switzerland who started to implement early intervention programs for preschoolers with autism a few years ago. Each center choose the approach which tailored to their needs, trained their team and was able to enroll in average 20 preschoolers with ASD to date. These data are in turn presented regularly to the Swiss invalidity insurance in an effort to demonstrate that local programs can dramatically help improving the lives of affected children. After the individual presentations by 4 of these 5 centers, the last talk will present statistical results based on the more than 100 toddlers with ASD who participated in one of these early intervention programs.
Synapsy backgrounder (pdf, 1 page).
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