Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 2816–2832 | Cite as

Autism Symptomatology in Boys with Fragile X Syndrome: A Cross Sectional Developmental Trajectories Comparison with Nonsyndromic Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Angela John Thurman
  • Andrea McDuffie
  • Sara T. Kover
  • Randi J. Hagerman
  • Leonard Abbeduto
Original Paper


Although males with fragile X syndrome (FXS) are frequently described as demonstrating autism symptomatology, there is much debate regarding whether the behavioral symptoms representing the core domains of autism are the result of the same or different underlying neurological/psychological mechanisms. The present study used a cross-sectional developmental trajectories approach to compare the profiles of autism symptomatology relative to chronological age (CA), nonverbal IQ, and expressive vocabulary ability between individuals with FXS and individuals with nonsyndromic ASD. Results suggest that the onset of autism symptoms and their developmental trajectories in males with FXS differ in important ways as a function of CA, nonverbal cognitive ability, and expressive vocabulary relative to males with nonsyndromic ASD. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.


Fragile X syndrome Autism spectrum disorder Behavioral phenotype Nonverbal cognition Expressive vocabulary Developmental trajectory 



This research was supported by Grants R01 HD054764 and U54 HD079125 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. We wish to thank the children and their families for their participation in this study. We also thank David Benjamin, Susan Harris, Beth Goodlin-Jones, Claire Hauser, Sara Armson, Eileen Haebig, Ashley Oakes, and Cecilia Compton for assisting with data collection and Susen Schroeder for coordinating all study visits. Leonard Abbeduto has received financial support to develop and implement outcome measures for fragile X syndrome clinical trials from F. Hoffman-LaRoche, Ltd., Roche TCRC, Inc. and Neuren Pharmaceuticals Limited. Randi J. Hagerman has received funding from Novartis, Roche Pharmaceuticals, Alcobra and Seaside Therapeutics to carry out treatment studies in fragile X syndrome and ASD. She has also consulted with Roche/Genetech and Novartis regarding treatment studies in fragile X syndrome.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela John Thurman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrea McDuffie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sara T. Kover
    • 3
  • Randi J. Hagerman
    • 1
    • 4
  • Leonard Abbeduto
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.MIND InstituteUniversity of California DavisSacramentoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of California DavisSacramentoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Speech and Hearing SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsUniversity of California DavisSacramentoUSA

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