Within a strong interdisciplinary framework, improvement in the quality of care for children with autistic spectrum disorders through a 2 year implementation program of Practice Parameters, aimed principally at improving early detection and intervention.
We developed Practice Parameters (PPs) for Pervasive Developmental Disorders and circulated the PPs to all child and adolescent psychiatrists practicing in the region.
PP development and parallel information strategies resulted in a significant decrease of 1.5 years in the mean-age-at-diagnosis. However, further analysis indicated that improvement was only transient.
Despite the encouraging improvement in mean-age-at-diagnosis 2 years after PP implementation, other indicators showed a failure to maintain the improvements. A systematic screening program would be the most reliable method to reinforce the PPs.