A Clinical Perspectives article published in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry proposes a tool to empower stakeholders, guide caregivers, and provide a rationale for advocates, when considering the systems of support offered to people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Organizations such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, and Autism Europe have long stressed the need for an effective evidence-based support approach, which not only promotes the active participation of the ASD individual, but also includes his or her family, and community.
With the hope of providing a framework for clinical practice and global advocacy, Dr. Joaquin Fuentes, of Policlínica Gipuzkoa, San Sebastián, Spain, has developed a set of brief ‘tips’ to guide such an approach and which he anticipates will be accepted in many countries.
Dr. Fuentes said of his article, “We see in our nations a radical evolution in the development of services to people with ASD. We consider them full citizens, who must receive personalized support in within their communities. We must pay attention to their hopes and dreams when planning for their futures, to empower them and their legal representatives to make decisions, and to favor their pursuit of self-determination, satisfying relationships, and full inclusion, in their search for quality of life.”
Pointing to a growing movement in Europe for making information easily understandable as an essential mechanism to protect individual human rights and foster citizen participation, Dr. Fuentes wrote the ‘tips’ in straightforward, first-person language In order to ensure representation, early drafts were reviewed by a self-support group of young persons with ASD, and the Board of Families from the Gipuzkoa Autism Society, the largest publicly supported autism community program in southern Europe, where Dr. Fuentes serves as a Research Consultant.
Those consulted discussed and strongly endorsed the document, adding a few points and valuing that the Ten Tips were to be facilitated to a multilingual community. Towards this end, the ten points outlined in the article are made available as online-only supplemental material in Basque, French, and Spanish.
Dr. Fuentes directs the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit at Policlínica Gipuzkoa, in Donostia / San Sebastián and is a member of the Steering Committee of Dr. Paramjit Joshi’s AACAP Presidential Initiative.
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Ten Tips to Support Me, Joaquin Fuentes, MD, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.07.017, published November 2014.