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Needs and Opportunities for ASD Awareness, Legislation, Intervention, Training and Research in Argentina

Thursday, 2 May 2013: 09:00-13:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)
A. Rattazzi1, M. L. Massolo2, K. A. Gutson1, V. M. Ensenat1,3, C. Plebst1, S. H. Cukier1, M. Massolo1, D. Melfi1, N. Martinez1, V. L. Martorello1, P. Landolfi1 and L. A. Croen4, (1)PANAACEA, Buenos Aires, Argentina, (2)Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, CA, (3)Pediatrics, British Hospital of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, (4)Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, CA
Background:  ASD knowledge and services in Argentina are limited and unevenly distributed throughout the country, with most resources concentrated in the main cities, such as Buenos Aires. Furhermore, there is a lack of coordination and communication between the various service providers, educators, parent advocacy organizations and government officials who are addressing the needs of the ASD community.

Objectives:  To identify the major needs and opportunities throughout the country in the areas of 1) awareness and early detection, 2) legislation and public policy, 3) intervention, and 4) training and research.

Methods:  Information was gathered in two ways.  First, an online survey was developed to be completed by parents, clinicians, educators, and individuals with ASD throughout the country.  The survey solicited responses regarding two local needs and opportunities in each of the 4 themes mentioned above.  Information about the respondent, including age, gender, city and province, and relationship to ASD, was also collected. The survey instrument was distributed broadly via social networks and also sent directly to individuals in the ASD community.  Second, a stakeholder meeting was held in Buenos Aires which was attended in person by 80 individuals from different institutions and organizations, including parents, professionals and legislators. In addition, the meeting was streamed live in order to facilitate participation of people living in the interior of the country.  Needs and opportunities were identified through group workshops and interdisciplinary group discussions.

Results: Within 10 days of posting the survey online, more than 250 completed surveys had been received from almost every province in the country.  Detailed results from the survey and stakeholder meeting will be presented.      

Conclusions: The participation of people from all disciplines and geographic areas in Argentina in the identification of needs and opportunities in relation to ASD awareness, legislation, intervention, training and research provides valuable  qualitative information pertinent to local communities.  This information is essential for the development of successful and sustainable ASD programs at the local and national levels.

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