Prevalence study of autism spectrum disorder in Romania

  • Magdalena Budisteanu
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Florina Rad
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Victorita Tudosie
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Roxana Zgura
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Bogdan Budisteanu
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Sorina Mihaela Papuc
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Andreea Tutulan-Cunita
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Aurora Arghir
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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  • Iuliana Dobrescu
    Affiliations
    Medical Genetics Laboratory, “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania

    Department of Pediatric Neurology, “Al. Obregia” Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, Bucharest, Romania
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      Objective: Over the past decades the number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased. Consequently, there is an increasing need for services for these patients and their families. The objective of this study is to estimate the ASD prevalence in school-aged Romanian children. This study is part of an European project about ASD aiming at evaluating the prevalence of this condition, as well as the health, economic and social burdens. Methods: A teacher nomination method (Hepburn, 2008) was used for identifying potential cases in regular schools and special education needs (SEN) schools across all country, for children aged 7-9 years. The questionnaire included questions about difficulties of children in being sociable, interacting and communicating with other children, and in thinking flexibility. The study started in February 2016 and ended in December 2016. Children denominated by the teachers were evaluated by a psychologist or child psychiatrist, with parental consent. The study had the approval of the institutional ethic committee. Results: 9135 children from 122 regular schools and 95 SEN schools were screened. 1358 were denominated by the teacher as presenting some autistic features. A diagnosis of ASD have already been established for 1295 children (1252 children from SEN schools and 43 children from regular schools). Twenty-three children were evaluated by a child psychiatrist and psychologist, a diagnosis of ASD being confirmed in 14. For the rest of 40 denominated children, the parents did not consent with the evaluation. Conclusion: 14,3% children from our cohort were diagnosed with ASD. This study will help the professionals from the field of ASD to define and design health, educational and social resources. Acknowledgement: Project SANCO/2014/C2/035 “Autism spectrum disorder across Europe (ASDEU)”.
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