Outdated practices in the public assistance of autism in Catalonia #autismwithscience

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Based on scientific evidence. This is what we, the families of people with autism and some professionals, require from the Department of Health of the Catalonian Government regarding the public assistance of autism. A disorder whose prevalence has grown exponentially over the past decade and which is now estimated to affect 1 in 150 children. While statistics differ among countries and studies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, for instance, puts the prevalence at 1 in 68 infants at the age of eight years [1]. Autism must be regarded as a high incidence disorder among children.

In Catalonia an anomaly persists in the public healthcare system of autism, that barely fits into the international framework of best practices in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Psychoanalysis is the preferred model and economically most gifted public health system in the early and child-adolescent care for people with ASD. Practices based on scientific evidence, endorsed by numerous investigations, and recognized by the international community as effective, represent a minority of the therapeutic interventions for people with ASD provided by the Catalan public service.

Psychodynamic therapy makes an obsolete consideration of autism, understood as a defensive psychological reaction of a child from traumatic factors. Numerous scientific [2] publications, and the overwhelming consensus among professionals worldwide, make clear that there is no evidence to support the psychogenic origin of autism.

The Information, Evaluation and Health Quality Agency issued a report in 2010, at the request of the Department of Health, which analyzed the evidence of interventions in autism. Although the report states that there are methodological problems in the research concerning treatment, it emphasizes that there are guidelines based on clinical expert consensus [4, 5] to indicate how should these treatments be. In this regard, the report concludes that behavioral interventions based on the model of applied behavior analysis are recommended for people with ASD, and discouraged psychodynamic interventions.

Paradoxically, these recommendations are not considered and therefore not appear reflected in the comprehensive care plan for people with ASD, developed in 2011 by the Department of Health in collaboration with the Departments of Social Welfare and Education.

In addition, over the past 5 years numerous studies and clinical review have been published [3] providing more data on this issue, making it clear which interventions should be implemented in autism. It is necessary that all this evidence is considered and included in the Plan of Care for People with Autism of the Catalonian Government.

Families of people with autism and renown professionals in the field of ASD urge the Government and in particular the Health Department to provide:

  • A public intervention of autism, comprehensive, specialized and sufficient, developed by multidisciplinary teams working under the international best practice guidelines based on scientific evidence.
  • A statement establishing that the recommended interventions by these guidelines and the majority consensus of the experts [4, 5] are behavioral interventions based on the model of applied behavior analysis.
  • The creation of care and specialized diagnostic units, provided with means to ensure the care of people with autism throughout their entire life cycle.

Public coverage of psychoanalysis by the Government, in the attention and intervention for people with autism is unacceptable in a democratic and modern society, and most likely not the right fit for committing malpractice.

Help us change the lives of people with autism and rationalize the Catalan model for ASD intervention by signing this petition.

APRENEM Association


  1. Prevalence and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among 4-Year-Old Children in the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.Christensen, Deborah L. et al.Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics., Post Author Corrections: December 09, 2015
  2. Best practices for designing and delivering effective programs for individuals with ASD. Recommendations of the collaborative Work Group on Autistic Spectrum Disorders. California: California Departments of Education and Developmental Services; 1997.
  3. Tristram Smith & Suzannah Iadarola (2015) Evidence Base Update for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44:6, 897-922.
  4. Assessment, diagnosis and clinical interventions for children and young people with autism spectrum disorders. A national clinical guideline. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN, 2007).
  5. New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline. Wellington (New Zealand): Ministry of Health, 2008.

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Associació APRENEM necesita tu ayuda con esta petición «Hon. Mr. Boi Ruiz Garcia, Minister of Health of the Government of Catalonia (Spain): Outdated practices in the public assistance of autism in Catalonia #autismwithscience». Únete a Associació y 86 personas que ya han firmado.