WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) — More than one-third of children clinically diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 12 to 36 months of age do not continue to meet the diagnostic criteria at age 5 to 7 years, according to a study published online Oct. 2 in JAMA Pediatrics.
In a natural history cohort study, Elizabeth Harstad, M.D., M.P.H., from Boston Children’s Hospital, and colleagues examined the frequency with which children who are clinically diagnosed with ASD at 12 to 36 months of age continue to meet diagnostic criteria for ASD at age 5 to 7 years.
The researchers found that 37.1 percent of the 213 participants diagnosed with ASD at initial clinical assessment did not continue to meet diagnostic criteria for ASD (nonpersistent ASD) at research assessment (mean age, 74.3 months). Children with nonpersistent ASD had an IQ of at least 70, while those with persistent ASD had a bimodal distribution of IQ (46 with IQ <70; 88 with IQ ≥70). Some interventions were received by all children; 94.4 percent received an ASD-specific intervention, which was mainly applied behavioral analysis. Higher baseline adaptive skills and female sex were the only variables associated with increased odds of being in the nonpersistent ASD group at 6 years of age.
“Our research shows how important it is that we monitor kids over time, because some children may really have changes in their social communication and behavioral function,” Harstad said in a statement. “This underscores the need for continuous assessments and adaptable intervention strategies.”
One author disclosed ties to Understood.org.
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