Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Pubblicato il 14/06/2022
Institute Simple Operating Unit - Head Paola Visconti

The simple Operative Unit for Autistic Spectrum Disorders was set up in 2020 to facilitate the Diagnostic and Care Paths undertaken by the families of people with autism (PDTA Autism Azienda USL di Bologna) by unifying the various structures present in the city of Bologna, metropolitan area (Bellaria Hospital, Casa del Giardiniere and Educational Intervention Centres); it contributes to innovations in the clinical-diagnostic field; it provides for the transfer of data from the Clinic to Research with scientific production; it is actively involved in Education and Training.

Care activities

The Autistic Spectrum Disorders operative unit works in close collaboration with the Mental Health Department. The activity is mainly organised on an outpatient basis for neurological and diagnostic-behavioural examinations/assessments; medical examinations are carried out through Day Service, Day Hospital and Ordinary Hospitalization, according to PRI-A (Protocollo Regione per Autismo). The activities carried out are:

  • Programming and carrying out diagnosis, clinical and neurobehavioural assessment activities at the two different sites, at the ISNB (at the Bellaria Hospital pavilions) and at the Casa del Giardiniere (Corte Roncati site) according to the pathway envisaged in the Autism PDTA.
  • Protocol of laboratory-instrumental examinations according to PRI-A and for Research: EEG, brain MRI, genetic analysis, at the ISNB premises at the Bellaria Hospital.
  • Administration of psychotropic drugs and pharmacological therapies for comorbidities (ISNB office, Bellaria Hospital pavilion).
  • Co-ordination and verification of psycho-educational and rehabilitation activities according to cognitive-behavioural strategies.
  • Coordination of the PDTA Autism activity in the City of Bologna.
  • Maintaining close contact with the local NPI services in the city, both as a first filter for families of children with suspected ASD and for taking care of them after diagnosis.

Research activities

  • In 2014 the clinical team, now part of the UOSI, obtained a ministerial grant of €382,000 for a research project to set up a database of 100 Italian families with one or more children with ASD to study possible relationships between genetic alterations and phenotypic characteristics. The subject of genetic investigation is both Mitochondrial and Nuclear DNA.
  • Since 2018 she has been leading the study Phenotypic Neuropsychological, Neurobehavioural and Neurophysiological Characterisation in subjects with HF Autism compared with subjects with Narcolepsy.
  • Since 2019, she has been leading the NDA-ER study (Network early recognition of Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the Emilia-Romagna Region): Early Recognition and Diagnosis of ASD through the development of a network treating NPIA, Paediatrics, Neonatology, Infant-toddler Centres/Schools in the Emilia-Romagna Region. The study was proposed by ISS with the participation of the three Regional Hubs AUTISMO (Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Rimini) and investigates siblings of children with ASD and preterm and low weight births to highlight early diagnostic markers.
  • Structural - functional neuroimaging and associated Rare Syndromic Diseases.
  • Study of voluntary movement, corticospinal excitability and intracortical circuits in patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder and with outcomes of Cerebral Palsy.
  • Prognostic indicators of Cognitive-Behavioural Treatment.


See the most representative publications for this unit.


Paola Visconti, MD, Child Neuropsychiatrist, Director of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders Operational Unit

Annio Posar, MD, UNIBO Researcher, PhD, Child Neuropsychiatrist

Maria Cristina Scaduto , MD, Child Neuropsychiatrist

Federica Resca, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

Maria Cristina Cutrone, Psychologist, BCBA certified

Maria Laura Ceteroni, MD, Child Neuropsychiatrist

Ilaria Casari, Psychologist on Progetto piccoli 0-36 months

Vincenza Blunda, Psychologist on the High Functioning Autism and Narcolepsy project

Chiara Mazzoni, Psychologist on NDA-ER Project


ISNB Headquarters, Bellaria Hospital
Via Altura, 3 - 40139 Bologna
Switchboard: Tel. +39.051.6225111
Day Hospital, Day Service, Outpatient Clinics: Tel. +39.051.4966159 | Fax +39.051.4966069

ISNB headquarters, Corte Roncati - Gardener's House
Viale Pepoli 3/5 - 40123 Bologna
Tel. +39.051.6597179

centroasd@ausl.bologna.it (for professionals)
infoasd@ausl.bologna.it (for families)