Brief Report: Developmental Trajectories of Adaptive Behavior in Children and Adolescents with ASD
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Research suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have significant difficulties with adaptive behavior skills including daily living and functional communication skills. Few studies have examined the developmental trajectory of adaptive behavior across childhood and adolescence. The present study examined longitudinal trajectories of adaptive behavior in a community-based clinic sample of 186 individuals with ASD. The overall pattern indicated an initial increase in adaptive behavior during early childhood followed by a plateau in skills during adolescence for individuals of all IQ groups. Given the importance of adaptive behavior for employment and quality of life, this study emphasizes the importance of targeting adaptive behavior during adolescence to insure continued gains.
KeywordsAdaptive behavior Autism Developmental trajectories
This manuscript was completed with support from Foundations of Hope and Autism Speaks. The authors would like to thank all participants and the TEACCH Autism Program. Last, we would like to acknowledge the foresight of Dr. Eric Schopler and Dr. Gary Mesibov to create a database of clinical assessment records in the early days of TEACCH that allowed for this important longitudinal research.
ATM and PSP conceived of the study, completed data entry, conducted preliminary analyses, and drafted the manuscript. NB completed developmental trajectory analyses with support from PSP. LK participated in the design and provided suggestions during manuscript preparation; MK participated in the design of the study, provided advice on statistical analyses and provided suggestions during manuscript preparation.
This study was funded by the Foundations of Hope and Autism Speaks (8316).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. This study was approved by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institutional Review Board for archival medical records review.
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