Article

Trajectories of Autism Severity in Children Using Standardized ADOS Scores

University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.3). 10/2012; 130(5). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3668
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVES:To plot longitudinal trajectories of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) severity from early childhood to early adolescence. In line with reported trajectories in toddlers, we hypothesize that a substantial minority of children will show marked changes in ASD severity over time, with "Improvers" demonstrating the highest mean baseline and rate of growth in verbal IQ (VIQ).METHODS:Patients included 345 clinic referrals and research participants with best-estimate clinical diagnoses of ASD at 1 or more time points, and repeated Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), VIQ, and nonverbal IQ scores. Standardized ADOS severity scores were applied to 1026 assessments collected longitudinally between the ages of 2 and 15 (VIQ at most recent assessment: mean = 58, SD = 35). Scores were fitted for latent severity trajectory classes with and without covariates. Adaptive behavior and VIQ trajectories over time were modeled within each of the best-fit latent classes.RESULTS:A 4-class model best represented the observed data. Over 80% of participants were assigned to persistent (stable) high or moderately severe classes; 2 small classes respectively increased or decreased in severity over time. Age, gender, race, and nonverbal IQ did not predict class membership; VIQ was a significant predictor. Baseline VIQ was highest in the improving and worsening classes; it increased at the greatest rate in the improving class. Adaptive behavior declined in all but the improving class, with consistent impairment in all classes.CONCLUSIONS:If replicated, identified trajectory classes of ADOS severity may contribute to clinical prognosis and to subtyping samples for neurobiological and genetic research.

1 Follower
 · 
84 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to model growth in anxiety and depressive symptoms from late school age through young adulthood in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and controls with developmental delay (DD), and to assess relationships among internalizing growth patterns, participant characteristics, baseline predictors, and distal outcomes. Data were collected between ages 6 and 24 years in 165 participants (n = 109 with ASD; n = 56 with nonspectrum DD), most of whom received diagnostic evaluations in both childhood and early adulthood. Questionnaires were collected approximately every 3 to 6 months between ages 9 and 24 years. Parent-rated Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Adult Behavior Checklist (ABCL), and Developmental Behaviour Checklist anxiety- and depression-related subscale distributions were modeled with mixed-effects Poisson models, covarying diagnosis, age, verbal IQ (VIQ), gender, and significant 2- and 3-way interactions. Anxiety was positively associated with VIQ, and controlling for VIQ, both anxiety and depressive symptoms were greater in ASD than nonspectrum participants. Female gender predicted greater increases over time in anxiety and depressive symptoms for both diagnostic groups. Lower maternal education was associated with increasing internalizing symptoms in a subset of less verbal individuals with ASD. In exploratory post hoc analyses, internalizing symptoms were associated with poorer emotional regulation in school age, and with lower life satisfaction and greater social difficulties in early adulthood. Findings support previous claims that individuals with ASD are at particular risk for affect- and anxiety-specific problems. Although symptom levels in females increase at a faster rate throughout adolescence, males with ASD appear to have elevated levels of depressive symptoms in school age that are maintained into young adulthood. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 02/2015; 32(5). DOI:10.1016/j.jaac.2015.02.005 · 6.35 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Symptom severity and adaptive functioning are fundamental domains of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) phenotype. To date, the longitudinal association between these 2 domains has not been examined. To describe the developmental trajectories of autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning in a large inception cohort of preschool children with ASD. The sample consisted of 421 newly diagnosed preschool children with ASD 2 to 4 years old (355 boys; mean age at study enrollment, 39.87 months) participating in a large Canadian multisite longitudinal study (Pathways in ASD Study). Prospective data collected at 4 points from time of diagnosis to age 6 years were used to track the developmental trajectories of children. Autistic symptom severity was indexed using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Adaptive functioning was indexed using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition. Two distinct trajectory groups provided the best fit to the autistic symptom severity data. Group 1 (11.4% of the sample) had less severe symptoms and an improving trajectory (P < .05), whereas group 2 (88.6% of the sample) had more severe symptoms and a stable trajectory. Three distinct trajectory groups provided the best fit to the adaptive functioning data. Group 1 (29.2% of the sample) showed lower functioning and a worsening trajectory, group 2 (49.9% of the sample) had moderate functioning and a stable trajectory, and group 3 (20.9% of the sample) had higher functioning and an improving trajectory (P < .05). Cross-trajectory overlap between the autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning groups was low (φ = 0.13, P < .05). Sex was a significant predictor of autistic symptom severity group membership and age at diagnosis, and language and cognitive scores at baseline predicted membership in adaptive functioning trajectories. Trajectories of both symptom severity and adaptive functioning predicted several different outcomes at age 6 years. Findings confirm the heterogeneous nature of developmental trajectories in ASD. Change in adaptive functioning suggests that improvement is possible in roughly 20% of the sample. Autistic symptom severity appears to be more stable, with roughly 11% of the sample showing a marked decrease in symptom severity. During the preschool years, there appears to be only a small amount of "yoking" of developmental trajectories in autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning. It is imperative that a flexible suite of interventions that target both autistic symptom severity and adaptive functioning should be implemented and tailored to each child's strengths and difficulties.
    JAMA Psychiatry 01/2015; 72(3). DOI:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.2463 · 12.01 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Autism (ASD) is vastly heterogeneous, particularly in early language development. While ASD language trajectories in the first years of life are highly unstable, by early childhood these trajectories stabilize and are predictive of longer-term outcome. Early neural substrates that predict/precede such outcomes are largely unknown, but could have considerable translational and clinical impact. Pre-diagnosis fMRI response to speech in ASD toddlers with relatively good language outcome was highly similar to non-ASD comparison groups and robustly recruited language-sensitive superior temporal cortices. In contrast, language-sensitive superior temporal cortices were hypoactive in ASD toddlers with poor language outcome. Brain-behavioral relationships were atypically reversed in ASD, and a multimodal combination of pre-diagnostic clinical behavioral measures and speech-related fMRI response showed the most promise as an ASD prognosis classifier. Thus, before ASD diagnoses and outcome become clinically clear, distinct functional neuroimaging phenotypes are already present that can shed insight on an ASD toddler's later outcome. VIDEO ABSTRACT. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Neuron 04/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.023 · 15.98 Impact Factor