The role of intervention and age of diagnosis on the diagnostic, behavioral, and educational outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorders
Few studies have examined early developmental functioning and early intervention among children with ASD as predictors of diagnostic stability and overall functioning. The objectives of this study were to examine potential early predictors from toddler/preschool age (Time 1) for categorical (diagnosis) and functional outcomes at 7-15 years old (Time 2) and to investigate the role of early intervention in predicting Time 2 outcomes of diagnosis, adaptive behavior, and school placement. Fifty-four children who received an ASD diagnosis prior to age 3 ½ were identified through a chart review and followed-up at 7-15 years of age. The participating children's adaptive behavior and symptom severity scores at Time 1 were collected from their early intervention charts. Interventions received were obtained through Department of Health chart reviews and parent questionnaires. Follow-up information was gathered from parent questionnaires and parent phone calls. In the absence of more recent diagnoses, children were reclassified based on current functioning with respect to social skills, presence of atypical behaviors, learning difficulties, and special services received according to information provided by parents. At follow-up, children were classified as severe/moderate ASD, mild ASD, and no diagnosis. Seventy-seven percent of the children retained a diagnosis on the autism spectrum from toddler to school age. Of the 23% who did not stay on the spectrum, many continued to have learning and language difficulties. It was found that the age at diagnosis and intensity of ABA services received predicted diagnostic category at follow-up. Being diagnosed at a younger age and receiving a high intensity of early behavioral interventions was associated with being in the no diagnosis group rather than mild ASD. However, it was also associated with being in the severe/moderate group rather than the mild ASD group.^
Vacanti-Shova, Karyn A, "The role of intervention and age of diagnosis on the diagnostic, behavioral, and educational outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorders" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3542755.