Can the teachers of early childhood education contribute in the early diagnosis of the autistic spectrum disorder?

Ana Cristina de Castro and Silvyo David Araújo Giffoni

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate whether early childhood teachers can contribute to the early diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This disorder of neurodevelopment arises in the first years of life, characterized by a dyad that involves communication and consequent socialization and on the other hand the presence of repetitive and stereotyped behaviors with repertoire of interests and restricted activities (DSM-5, 2013). In this sense it is necessary to emphasize the pedagogical view of the teachers that attend this age group in which one can observe early characteristics of ASD. To know about the experience of these teachers with Early Childhood Education and with students with ASD, we know the characteristics of the disorder, evaluated by levels of training. Method: 300 teachers from the municipal network of Paulínia, Sao Paulo, Brazil; participated in the research through a specific questionnaire prepared for this purpose. Results: it was evidenced that teachers showed knowledge of the main characteristics of the picture, many students are in the stage of oral language acquisition and atypical characteristics can be observed by teachers. The working time of the interviewed teachers is between 5 and 15 years old or more. Many said they had worked with students with this disorder, pointed out as more important aspects the presence of expert teachers and school with resource rooms with materials adapted to receive these children. Conclusion: with this study it was possible to show that there is a lack of continuous training for teachers, teaching materials and adapted rooms. It should also be noted that if the diagnosis is made in the first 3 years (chronological age in which children are in preschool centers) and with early and long term interventions, there will be a positive impact on the prognosis of the cases.

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