The autism spectrum disorders are a complex group of disorders that appear in the first years of life. We talk about spectrum of autism because the manifestations of these disorders can be very different and various levels of severity and shades. What is common to those who suffer from these disorders are deficits at the level of thesocial interaction and the presence of behavior or interests that are characterized by narrowness or repetitiveness.

As you experience the autism spectrum disorders?

In the DSM-5 (Manual of diagnostic and statistical of mental disorders – 5th and most recent edition) has been conceptualised and defined a single diagnostic category called Autism Spectrum Disorders, unlike the previous edition of the manual that according to the Autistic Disorder (autism), Asperger's Syndrome, and the Disorder disintegrativo of the child. This new endorsement draws attention to the concept dimensional autismcharacterized by behaviors that extend without solution of continuity between normality and disease, but they differ because the frequency and the intensity of the symptom does not allow you to adapt to the context and to develop the cognitive resources, to acquire and maintain social relationships.

Disturbo dello spettro dell’autismo - Centro Tice

Diagnostic criteria

Below is a list of the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5:

A. Deficits persisted in social communication and social interaction in different contexts, not explained by a general delay in development, and that manifests itself through:

  1. Deficits in reciprocity socio-emotional: social approach of abnormal and difficulties in the conversation and/or a reduced interest in the sharing of interests, emotions, and affections, and/or a lack of initiative in social interaction.
  2. Deficits in behaviour, non-verbal communication used for social interaction, ranging from a poor integration of verbal and nonverbal communication, or an abnormality in the eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of expressive facial and body language.
  3. Deficits in the developing and maintaining appropriate relationships the level of development (not including those with their parents and caregivers): difficulties in regulating the behavior with respect to different social contexts and/or difficulties in sharing imaginative play and in making friends and/or the apparent lack of interest for the people.
B. Behaviors and/or interests and/or activities restricted and repetitive as manifested by at least two of the following points:

  1. Language and/or motor movements and/or use of objects, stereotyped and/or repetitive: as simple stereotypies motor, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, phrases, sentences idiosyncratic.

  2. Excessive adherence to routines, behaviors, verbal or non-verbal ritualized and/or excessive resistance to change (rituals engines, insistence on doing the same route or eat same food every day, questions or discussions incessant or extreme stress as a result of small changes).

  3. Fixation interests highly restricted with intensity or focus abnormal: strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, interests overly persevering or detailed.

  4. Hyper-reactivity and/or Hypo-reactivity to sensory stimuli or interests that are unusual with respect to certain aspects of the environment: the apparent indifference to the hot/cold/pain, response, adverse to the sounds or specific tissues, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination towards lights or moving objects.

C. symptoms must be present in early childhood

(but may not become fully manifest until social demands do not exceed the limit of capacity).

D. The set of symptoms must impair daily functioning.

(but may not become fully manifest until social demands do not exceed the limit of capacity).

E. These alterations are not better explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay. The intellectual disability and the disorder in the autism spectrum are often present in combination.

(but may not become fully manifest until social demands do not exceed the limit of capacity).

Course, prevalence, and causes


The symptoms of autism are usually recognized in the second year of life (12-24 months of age), but may be observed signs of autism before the 12 months if the developmental delay is severe or after 24 months if the symptoms of autism are attenuated.

Some children with autism experience phases of a plateau or regression development, with a gradual or relatively early deterioration of the social behaviour or the use of language, often during the first 2 years of life.

The first symptoms of autism involving frequent one language development delayed, often associated with poor social interests or unusual social interactions, to game mode extravagant and modes of communication are unusual. During the second year, the behaviors extravagant and repetitive, and the absence of the usual games become more and more obvious.

It is a condition from which no one can heal, but action. The theidentification of early autism represents a major challenge because it opens the possibility of taking charge at an age where some of the processes of development can still be modified. The researches that evaluate the effects of the intervention show that children benefit from early interventions have significant progress on the cognitive, emotional and social



Autism spectrum disorder is a condition that affects approximately1% of the population, with estimates similar in samples of children and adults and is diagnosed four times more in males compared to the females.


At the moment you do not know exactly what are the causes of autism, and there is agreement among scholars in arguing that exist multiple factors responsible for: genetic aspects, aspects related to the interaction between genes and environmental factors, and other variables of the biological.

There are a number of scientific evidence according to which the genetic component could have a causal role relevant, whilst being in an optical multifactorial: in the face of a major vulnerability individual due to genetic mutations, certain environmental conditions can contribute to the onset of the symptoms of the spectrum. However, in the literature, yet very little is known about what factors in the environment might engage in a significant manner on the vulnerability of the genetic individual.

As we deal with the disorders of the
the spectrum of autism at the Centre Tice?

The reference for the orientation in the different treatments that are aimed at children and young people with autism spectrum disorders, are the guidelines 21 of the Higher Institute of Health, where you can find the evaluation of the treatments available for children and adolescents with autism on the basis of the demonstrated effectiveness of the same.

According to the guidelines, the treatments psicoeduativi prove to be the most effective among these, the most studied are those based on theApplied Behavior analysis (ABA) that can improve the iq, language, and behaviors that are adaptive, that is, the skills needed for daily life. These interventions are most effective when early, intensive, and when you involve the parents and the school.

Also demonstrated to be effective also interventions mediated by the parents. In this approach, parents are guided by the professionals to understand and apply in everyday life, the mode of communication and interventions to support the development and the communication skills of the child. These interventions are useful both for children that can improve their communication skills and some of the behaviors typical of autism, both for the parents, because they help them to interact with children, and so reduce the sense of helplessness and anxiety that are often present.

It is for this reason that at Tice we offer integrated services that are based on the ABA, and we always offer a coordinated work on the network with the school and families.

Each path of the intervention from a full in-depth rating (not diagnostic, but aimed to know the skills in each child), which allows you to individualize the path and define the objectives. The paths are carried out by qualified personnel (psychologists and educationalists with a master's degree in ABA), and take place in the centers TICE, often in co-presence with other peers, but with a constant ratio of 1:1.


Sharing with the family is part of every step of the work to TICE: from the definition of the objectives, the sharing of strategies and data, the constant return of the trend of the path. In addition, there are courses structured in which the parent is invited to play on the sessions along with the professional in order to share the methods and strategies psicoeducative, routes, advice on whom to discuss these arrangements and the difficulties that emerge in different contexts and be supported by the emotional point of view.

Professionals TICE take care of the path to get in contact with all the actors that are part of the network of family support (SSN, school and other professionals), suggesting an the constant exchange and open, designed to maximize all the actions in the field. The school represents a fundamental place in which to implement strategies that maximize inclusion, creating culture in the students, learn skills useful for the growth. For this, we keep in constant contact with schools, through frequent meetings, meetings, supervisions, sharing of goals and programs, depending on the availability of the teacher and families.

Every child who attends TICE is in contact with the professionals speech-language pathologists trained in ABAdevelop in collaboration with the team objectives and programmes of work that are specific to the development of communication and language. The speech pathologist within Tice collects data on the intervention and share them with friends, colleagues and family and is an active part of theinterdisciplinary team psychologists, psicomotricisti and educationalists, leading to greater generalization and automation of competences is the object of the treatment.


Every child who attends TICE is in contact with professionals neuropsicomotricisti trained in ABAdevelop in collaboration with the team objectives and programmes of work that are specific to the development of the motility . The neuropsicomotricista within Tice collects data on the intervention and share them with friends, colleagues and family and is an active part of the interdisciplinary team of psychologists, speech therapists and educators, leading to greater generalization and automation of competences is the object of the treatment.


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