Parental recognition of developmental abnormalities in autism

Instituto di Clinica delle Malattie Nervose e Mentali, Bari, Italy.
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.34). 10/1998; 7(3):131-6. DOI: 10.1007/s007870050058
Source: PubMed


In order to identify factors associated with the early detection and referral of children with pervasive developmental disorders, a sample of 82 consecutive referrals to an outpatient diagnostic service was studied. All children were thoroughly assessed with the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI), standardized psychological tests and direct observations. Data from the ADI on the first symptoms to arouse parental concern and on the first professional advice sought were analyzed. The mean age of children was 19.1 months (SD = 9.4) when the parents first became concerned, and the first professional advice was sought when children were 24.1 months old (SD = 11.7). The most common parental concerns were for speech and language development, followed by abnormal socio-emotional response, and medical problem or delay in milestone. In both bivariate and multiple regression analyses, the mean age of children at first parental concern and professional advice was significantly lower in the presence of mental retardation in the child, of an older sibling in the family, and of first parental concerns for medical problem/delay in milestone. More specific autistic behaviours, child's gender, social class and place of residence did not influence the age of recognition of the disorder in this sample. Health visitors and general practitioners were the first professionals contacted by parents. The implications of these findings for early detection and diagnosis of autism are discussed.

Download full-text


Available from: Eric Fombonne, Feb 10, 2015
114 Reads
  • Source
    • "Some children were identified as late as >72 months, possibly because they were high-functioning. Other studies of parental concerns indicate that the majority recognized atypical development by their child's second birthday (Baghdadli, Pico, Pascal et al 2003; Chakrabarti 2009; Chavarska, Klin, Paul & Volkmar 2007; De Giacomo & Fombonne 1998; Young, Brewer & Pattison 2003). The age at identification of ASD symptoms by parents in our cohort even differed from the age of toddlers at the State Diagnostic and Counselling Center (SDCC) in Iceland, where parents had developmental concerns about their children before the age three years (Jónsdóttir, Saemundsen, Antonsdóttir et al 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Limited research has been published about the demographic characteristics of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in South Africa. Describing the profiles of learners from a school for children with ASD may contribute to local knowledge in the field. A retrospective comparative design was utilised to compare the demographic characteristics of learners over two time intervals: 1992-2002 (Group 1, n=32) and 2003-2014 (Group 2, n=109). A total of 141 historical admission records in paper-based files were reviewed. Results indicated that there is a large male gender bias (8.4:1) in learners, which increased over the years. The age of the child when parents first became concerned and the age at diagnosis and assessment at school increased over both time periods. There was also an increase in the diversity of home languages after 2002. Parental qualifications decreased, but social class improved in recent years. The low qualification of a mother was associated with an advanced age of the child at school entry. The data serves as a point of reference for future studies about the characteristics of school children with ASD in South Africa.
    South African Journal of Childhood Education 06/2015; 5(1):42-61.
  • Source
    • "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has long been associated with impairments in speech production (Paul, Augustyn, Klin, & Volkmar, 2005; American Psychiatric Association, 2000), with the stress, rhythm, and intonation patterns in word utterances being the most commonly affected (Baltaxe & Simmons, 1985; Wilkinson, 1998; Pepp e, Cleland, Gibbon, O'Hare, & Mart ınez-Castilla, 2011). Very little research has examined the perception of prosody in infants who are later diagnosed with ASD, simply because these individuals rarely receive a diagnosis before 2–4 years of age (Rogers & DiLalla, 1990; De Giacomo & Fombonne, 1998; Bryson, Zwaigenbaum, McDermott, Rombough, & Brian, 2008). One such study completed by Paul, Chawarska, Fowler, Cicchetti, and Volkmar (2007) found that while 2-year-olds with ASD or a nonspecific developmental delay (DD) did not prefer trochaic to iambic stress, 1-year-old typically developing (TD) infants (language matched to the ASD group) did. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sensitivity to language-specific stress patterns during infancy facilitates finding, mapping, and recognizing words, and early preferences for the predominate stress pattern of the infant's native language have been argued to facilitate language relevant outcomes (Ference & Curtin, 2013 Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116, 891; Weber et al., 2005 Cognitive Brain Research, 25, 180). We examined 12-month-old infant siblings of typically developing children (SIBS-TD) and infant siblings of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; SIBS-A) on their ability to map differentially stressed labels to objects. We also examined whether success at this task relates to infants’ vocabulary size at 12 months, and more specifically to SIBS-A's vocabulary at both 12 and 24 months. SIBS-TD successfully mapped the word–object pairings, which related to their vocabulary comprehension at 12 months. In contrast, SIBS-A as a group did not map the word–object pairings, which was unrelated to vocabulary size at 12 months. However, success on this task for SIBS-A predicted expressive language abilities at 24 months using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL; Mullen, 1995 Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance) and the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (MB-CDI; Fenson et al., 1993 MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory: Users Guide and Technical Manual. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Company). Our study is the first to demonstrate that 12-month-old SIBS-A who succeed at word mapping using lexical stress are more likely to have stronger expressive language abilities at 24 months.
    Infancy 05/2015; 20(3). DOI:10.1111/infa.12074 · 1.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Although most children learn names for objects with relative ease, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have potentially severe language acquisition difficulties (e.g. Boucher 2012; De Giacomo and Fombonne 1998; Eigsti et al. 2011) resulting from various factors, including impaired social pragmatic skills (Baron-Cohen et al. 1997; Preissler and Carey 2005; Walton and Ingersoll 2013) and lexical extension and categorisation difficulties (Gastgeb et al. 2006; Menyuk 1978; Naigles et al. 2013). Despite their socialisation impairments, children with ASD may be able to learn words using association and perceptual salience cues (e.g. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The shape bias-generalising labels to same shaped objects-has been linked to attentional learning or referential intent. We explore these origins in children with typical development (TD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental disorders (DD). In two conditions, a novel object was presented and either named or described. Children selected another from a shape, colour or texture match. TD children choose the shape match in both conditions, children with DD and 'high-verbal mental age' (VMA) children with ASD (language age > 4.6) did so in the name condition and 'low-VMA' children with ASD never showed the heuristic. Thus, the shape bias arises from attentional learning in atypically developing children and is delayed in ASD.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2401-1 · 3.34 Impact Factor
Show more