Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in the first 3 years of life.
ABSTRACT Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a class of neurodevelopmental disorders defined by qualitative impairments in social functioning and communication, often accompanied by repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior and interests. The term 'ASD' encompasses autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, and Asperger's syndrome. ASDs show etiologic heterogeneity, and there is no definitive medical test or cure for these conditions. Around 1 in 150 children have an ASD, with males being affected three to four times more frequently than females. The age at diagnosis of ASD ranges from 3 to 6 years, but there is increasing evidence that diagnosis in the second year of life is possible in some children. Early diagnosis will lead to earlier behavior-based intervention, which is associated with improvements in core areas, such as social functioning and communication. Early detection of-and intervention to treat-ASD is crucial because it is likely to lead to an improved outcome.
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ABSTRACT: Most studies examining attachment in children with autism spectrum disorder used a strange situation paradigm and have found few significant group differences between children with autism spectrum disorder and comparisons. However, these studies predominantly used formal attachment categorizations (e.g. secure vs insecure), a method that may obscure more nuanced differences between groups. In this study, we utilized a qualitative approach to examine attachment behaviors in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Based on the results of previous studies, we looked at (a) parental gender, (b) child diagnosis, and (c) child cognitive skills to examine the role of these three factors on attachment behaviors elicited during a modified strange situation paradigm. Participants were 2- to 3-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (n = 166) or nonspectrum disorders (n = 45), as well as a sample of 56 children with typical development. Over the three groups, 393 observations of a modified strange situation paradigm with mothers and 127 observations with fathers were collected. Parental gender, child diagnosis, and child cognitive skills each had significant main effects on attachment behaviors elicited during reunion. These results underscore the importance of the father's role in parent-child interactions, with implications for both clinical and research efforts. In addition, the results emphasize the importance of considering a child's diagnosis and cognitive skills when examining attachment behaviors.Autism 12/2012; 18(2). DOI:10.1177/1362361312467235 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Motor delays have been reported in retrospective studies of young infants who later develop Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). OBJECTIVE: In this study, we prospectively compared the gross motor development of a cohort at risk for ASDs; infant siblings of children with ASDs (AU sibs) to low risk typically developing (LR) infants. METHODS: 24 AU sibs and 24 LR infants were observed at 3 and 6 months using a standardized motor measure, the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS). In addition, as part of a larger study, the AU sibs also received a follow-up assessment to determine motor and communication performance at 18 months using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. RESULTS: Significantly more AU sibs showed motor delays at 3 and 6 months than LR infants. The majority of the AU sibs showed both early motor delays and later communication delays. LIMITATIONS: Small sample size and limited follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Early motor delays are more common in AU sibs than LR infants. Communication delays later emerged in 67-73% of the AU sibs who had presented with early motor delays. Overall, early motor delays may be predictive of future communication delays in children at risk for autism.Infant behavior & development 09/2012; 35(4):838-846. DOI:10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.07.019 · 1.34 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Social Attention and Communication Study involved the successful implementation of developmental surveillance of the early markers of autism spectrum disorders in a community-based setting. The objective in the current study was to determine the most discriminating and predictive markers of autism spectrum disorders used in the Social Attention and Communication Study at 12, 18 and 24 months of age, so that these could be used to identify children with autism spectrum disorders with greater accuracy. The percentage of 'yes/no' responses for each behavioural marker was compared between children with autistic disorder (n = 39), autism spectrum disorder (n = 50) and developmental and/or language delay (n = 20) from 12 to 24 months, with a logistic regression also conducted at 24 months. Across all ages, the recurring key markers of both autistic disorder and autism spectrum disorder were deficits in eye contact and pointing, and from 18 months, deficits in showing became an important marker. In combination, these behaviours, along with pretend play, were found to be the best group of predictors for a best estimate diagnostic classification of autistic disorder/autism spectrum disorder at 24 months. It is argued that the identified markers should be monitored repeatedly during the second year of life by community health-care professionals.Autism 06/2012; 17(1). DOI:10.1177/1362361312442597 · 3.50 Impact Factor