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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 3191–3202 | Cite as

From Toddlerhood to Adolescence: Which Characteristics Among Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder Predict Adolescent Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptom Severity? A Long-Term Follow-Up Study

  • Ditza A. ZachorEmail author
  • Esther Ben-Itzchak
Original Paper

Abstract

High rates of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comorbidity have been described in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study searched for predictors at toddlerhood of the severity of ADHD symptoms at adolescence. The study included 65 participants, (mean age = 13:8 year), diagnosed with ASD at toddlerhood. Participants underwent a comprehensive assessment of cognitive ability, adaptive skills and autism severity at toddlerhood and adolescence. More severe restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRB) in toddlerhood predicted the severity of Inattention symptoms. In addition, more severe RRB and lower adaptive skills in the toddler years significantly predicted the severity of Hyperactivity/Impulsivity symptoms. Adolescents with elevated ADHD symptoms diagnosed at toddlerhood with ASD showed lower cognitive and adaptive skills and more severe autism symptoms.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Follow-up studies ADHD Adaptive behavior Restricted and repetitive behavior 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Canada for funding this research and the Israeli National Association for Children with Autism (ALUT) for logistic support. To our research assistant, Tamar Matz Vaisman, for her extensive help throughout the project. A special thanks to the participating families, who put in a great effort to complete the evaluations.

Author Contributions

Both authors, Ditza A. Zachor and Esther Ben-Itzchak, planned, conducted the research, gathered and analyzed the data and wrote the entire manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, The Autism Center/ALUT, Assaf Harofeh Medical CenterTel Aviv UniversityZerifinIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Communication Disorders, Bruckner Center for Research in Autism Spectrum DisordersAriel UniversityArielIsrael

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