Stability of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Young Children with Diverse Backgrounds
Determining diagnostic stability of ASD, as well stability of functioning in early childhood, is relevant to prevalence, best practices for communicating early ASD diagnoses to caregivers, families’ experiences, and developmental trajectories. Generalizability of findings from prior research has been limited by small and homogenous samples, short follow-up time intervals, and inconsistent diagnostic procedures. This report presents follow-up evaluations of 60 children (86.7% male, mean age: 51.3 months) with diverse backgrounds (79.7% racial/ethnic minorities) who received initial ASD diagnoses before 36 months of age (mean age: 27 months). Fifty-three children (88.3%) met diagnostic criteria for ASD at follow-up, a proportion consistent with previous studies. On average, children demonstrated significant cognitive gains and ASD symptom improvement. Clinical implications of findings are discussed.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Autism Diagnostic stability Early detection
This paper is based on the doctoral dissertation of Dr. Ivy Giserman-Kiss, for which Dr. Carter was the committee chairperson. Funding for this project was provided by HRSA (R40MC26195), NIMH (R01MH104400), Autism Speaks, the UMB Office of Graduate Studies, and the UMB Graduate Student Assembly. The authors would like to acknowledge the children and families who participated in this project, the Early Intervention agency staff, as well as the graduate students and staff of the UMB Child Development Lab who were integral in data collection. The authors would also like to specifically thank Melanie Feldman for her support with all aspects of this project.
IGK and ASC conceived of and designed the project together. IGK collected the data, performed data analysis, and wrote the paper, with significant input, feedback, and support from ASC.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All study procedures were approved by the institutional review board and informed consent from participants’ legal guardians was documented in writing.
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