Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Six Paths Found for Autistic Kids' Development

Children with autism appear to fall into six patterns of development between ages 2 and 14, report Christine Fountain, Ph.D., and colleagues at Columbia University. Their study of 6,975 children with autism born in California from 1992 to 2001 found six typical patterns of social, communication, and repetitive-behavior functioning. “Children whose symptoms were least severe at first diagnosis tended to improve more rapidly than those severely affected,” wrote the authors in the journal Pediatrics online April 2.

One group, which the researchers labeled “bloomers,” included about 10 percent of the children. They had low functioning at first, but then “experienced rapid gains, moving from severely affected to high functioning.” According to the researchers, “[T]hose most likely to ‘bloom’ are those without intellectual disability and those with more educated, nonminority mothers.”

That last point has important treatment implications. “If this heterogeneity in outcomes is associated with parental and community resources, then equal access to early intervention and treatment resources for less-advantaged children is vital,” said the authors.

To read more about diagnosing autism, see Psychiatric News hereAlso, see the latest information about autism and related disorders in American Psychiatric Publishing's Textbook of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

(Image: SergiyN/


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