Document Type


Publication Date



Background Core symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continue to affect everyday life as children grow and transition into adulthood. That way, different services may be needed at various stages of their lifetimes. This study aimed to describe service encounters and hours of service per week for individuals with ASD in Latin American countries and compare the data from three age groups (preschoolers, school-aged, and adolescents).

Methods: The data were obtained from an online survey adapted by Red Espectro Autista Latinoamerica (REAL) in 6 different countries in South & Central America. The total sample was composed of 2520 caregivers of children and adolescents with ASD.

Results: Services encounters for Speech, Occupational and Behavioral Therapies decreased with patient age, while medication increased. Regardless of the age group, a large proportion of individuals (19-37%) were not receiving treatment, and those receiving treatment got fewer hours than best practice recommendations. For adolescents, the gaps in treatment are even greater and less consistent.

Discussion Failure to offer timely identification and intervention for ASD will result in more impairment of the individual and burden for the family. Although there are several initiatives to develop more resources for this population in Latin-America, the provision of services for ASD is still undervalued. Many such individuals might not be receiving the services they need, while most children are mainly receiving therapies with low to moderate evidence at a frequency below the recommended standards.


© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Original published version available at

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Publication Title

Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.