Age of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is associated with child's variables and parental experience

Ram A. Mishaal, Esther Ben-Itzchak, Ditza A. Zachor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is highly important as it enables an early start to intervention. The current study examined familial (parental ages; education; having an older sibling) and child (gender; reported and observed autism symptoms severity; adaptive skills) related variables that might predict the age of ASD diagnosis. The study included 551 participants, age range 15-72 months, diagnosed with ASD who underwent comprehensive medical and behavioral assessment using standardized tests. Of the child's examined variables, the severity of the social interaction impairment reported by the parents and having a history of developmental regression was associated with an earlier age of ASD diagnosis. In contrast, the severity of the restricted and repetitive behaviors was associated with delayed age of ASD diagnosis. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales scores lower or higher than the group's mean (70 points) were associated with a relatively delayed age of ASD diagnosis. Of the familial variables, only having an older sibling was associated with an earlier diagnosis. Professionals should be aware that subtle signs of ASD, developmental delay and close to normal adaptive functioning might delay age of ASD diagnosis. Educating parents on "red flags" for ASD and periodic surveillance in early childhood are important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-880
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Adaptive functioning
  • Age of diagnosis
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Developmental regression
  • First born child
  • Restricted and repetitive behaviors
  • Social impairments

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