La Academia Americana de Pediatría (AAP), los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades, los Institutos Nacionales de Salud, las asociaciones y programas para padres con niños con autismo y los investigadores han llamado la atención sobre la importancia de la detección precoz de los trastornos del espectro autista (TEA) y el acceso a la posible intervención temprana. La literatura científica indica que la edad media de diagnóstico de TEA es de 4 años, sin embargo, cerca de la mitad de los niños con este trastorno del desarrollo neurológico puede ser detectado a los 14 meses de edad. La Academia Americana de Pediatría recomienda que en las prácticas de Pediatría se utilicen los cuestionarios específicos para la detección de los signos de autismo al inicio de los 18 meses. Estos cuestionarios no son perfectos ya que, a menudo, requieren que los padres respondan “sí” o “no” a las preguntas acerca de la presencia de ciertos comportamientos de los niños. Las conductas de los niños asociadas con los trastornos del espectro autista (TEA) se presentan frecuentemente de una manera inconsistente, y se confunden con los comportamientos observados en niños con desarrollo típico o normal. Estas conductas observadas en los niños con los trastornos del espectro autista muchas veces difieren del desarrollo típico del niño, no solo en la frecuencia sino también en la calidad. Para mejorar el reconocimiento de los primeros signos de los trastornos del espectro autista, entre los pediatras, padres y terapeutas que participan de la detección temprana, la Dra. Rebecca Landa, una investigadora dedicada a los trastornos del espectro autista y la directora del Centro de Autismo y Trastornos Relacionados del Instituto Kennedy Krieger en Baltimore (Estados Unidos), ha desarrollado un tutorial gratuito de 9 minutos con las señales de comportamiento de niños con autismo de un año de edad. El tutorial consta de seis vídeo-clips que comparan niños pequeños que no muestran signos de TEA con los niños que muestran signos tempranos de TEA. Cada vídeo es presentado por una voz que describe y explica cómo los comportamientos específicos que presenta el niño, a medida que ocurren en la pantalla, son indicativos de TEA o del desarrollo típico de un niño. Los videos e información presentados en este tutorial, se obtuvieron a través de la investigación realizada por la Dra. Rebecca Landa, financiada por el Instituto Nacional de Salud Mental, y se centraron en indicadores tempranos de los trastornos del espectro autista y en las características del desarrollo temprano de niños con y sin autismo. Para obtener más información, por favor visite
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