“When there is an early detection of autism spectrum disorder in a child, there is a timely intervention,” said the psychiatrist Sebastian Cukier, one of the most recognized specialists on the autism spectrum in Argentina.
He studied medicine at the UBA, did his residency in psychiatry at the Tobar García Children’s Hospital, where he was chief of residents, continued his training at the University of Pittsburgh and, later, specialized in various techniques in treatments for autism spectrum disorders. He also works as a supervisor and teacher of residents in pediatric hospitals in the city of Buenos Aires and is a co-founder of PANAACEA, an organization that proposes an open and comprehensive view for each family.
In a new meeting of Let’s Read Experience, the cycle of meetings that the Leamos.com platform organizes as an exclusive benefit for its subscribers, Cukier spoke with Carolina Balbiani on the signs of ASD in childhood and the challenges of having a child with this condition.
According to Sebastián Cukier, if ASD is detected early, it helps not only the child, but also the family. Not only is the diagnosis of this favored, but also the family is able to interpret the signs and have an idea of why they have the behaviors they have. In any case, he assures that it is not necessary to have a diagnosis to intervene: “If one as a parent sees that there is some area of development that represents a challenge for the child, it can provide tools to promote and work on those skills.
Knowing what the typical development is like and what behaviors can be a sign that should be consulted, in principle, with the pediatrician, would be the keys to an early detection of ASD. For example, Cukier said that babies begin to smile at 6 months: “Boys show joy from an early age, if a child hardly smiles or is not very expressive, it is a sign to consult.” Also if the baby does not make exchanges of sounds or facial gestures. “They are signals to consult,” he clarified, “it does not mean that there is yes or yes a picture in development.”
Autism, being a spectrum, manifests itself differently in each child. In this way, Cukier explained, the needs for adaptation and support will vary according to the individual. “A boy, adolescent or adult who does not have spoken language will need to work on alternative forms of communication, while others will need to work on their social skills,” he exemplified. And although the need for supports that may exist depending on the child is very wide, for the professional it is very important that they feel comfortable, that they know how to regulate their emotions and that they do not suffer too strong stimuli. At the same time, they must be connected with others: “They have to manage to feel an emotional connection.” And finally, to be able to communicate with the other not only to ask for things: “Only when there is a connection with the other, when there is a feeling of warmth, will they be able to show their emotions and share.”
See the full interview.
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