Luísa Teles: “Autism is a complex disease, but there is hope”

“Autism is a complex disease, but there is hope”, stressed Luísa Teles, the coordinator of the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Centre from Hospital da Luz Lisboa, during her intervention in Cristina Ferreira TV show, on February 25, at SIC Channel.

The paediatrician was invited to talk about autism, in a panel integrating two mothers of patients with the disease, now adults.

“Often, parents come to consultation literally clueless”, attested the physician specialist in developmental paediatrics, after the two mothers remembering how they realized the peculiar behaviour of their children, around two years of age – such as screaming, a great regression in speech and propensity for isolation.

“Autism is by far the most complex and heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder. Presently, it is defined based on a series of criteria, including alterations and difficulties of social interaction and restrictive and repetitive behaviours, with or without sensorial issues. And when the child does not have the autonomy to learn reading or taking care of herself, it is not only autism, by autism with intellectual impediments”, she added.

“Parents show an ambivalent reaction: they feel that there is something different with their child, but need some time to recognize it”, stressed Luísa Teles, enhancing the role of doctors: “In that long way to cover, physicians are partners. Together with parents and technicians, we are part of a team that has to work in alignment and on behalf of the best interest of the child and family. This is caring. And caring with love.”

Watch here the intervention in the TV show (from minute 6)