Intervention,treatmentand care in autistic disorder. Challenging case reports from northern Finland

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Kielinen, Marko ; Hjelmquist, Erland ; Moilanen, Irma ; Syrjälä, Leena (2005)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v64i1.17955
  • Subject: autism, autistic disorder, child, education, habilitation, treatment

Objectives. Autism produces characteristic patterns of behaviour, and individuals with autistic disorder (AD) have a lot in common in terms of behaviour and mannerisms. Individuals with autism, however, also have their own overall personalities, which both underlie and interact with their autism. This article focuses on challenges of identifying AD and delivering appropriate services in face of long distances and limited resources. Study Design. This study is a retrospective descriptive chart review and cases series. Hospital records and data on the treatment/habilitation status of 187 children and adolescents with autistic disorder aged 3-18 years were evaluated from Northern Finland. Methods. Nine subjects, representing the age group of 9- to 17-year-olds, did not show any improvement on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and in the clinical examination during the follow-up period 1990-97. In this study, these children and adolescents with AD were evaluated more carefully. Results. The treatment programs and therapies varied, depending on the availability of trained staff. There were various reasons for the absence of the most suitable treatment, or habilitation, at the individual level. The difficulties also varied over time and between individuals. In addition, after the follow-up period, four of the nine (55.6%) individuals showed more positive outcome when the level of autism had been taken into account in the planning of the intervention for, treatment and care of AD. Conclusion. The possible reasons for poor outcome included the level of mental disability, impairments of speech and communication, lack of knowledge of autism at the municipal level, long distance to services, severe epilepsy, additional medical diagnosis, parental acceptance of the child’s autism and late start of the intervention for, or habilitation of autism.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2005; 64(1):65-76)Keywords: autism, autistic disorder, child, education, habilitation, treatment
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