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      Beyond autism: a baby siblings research consortium study of high-risk children at three years of age.

      Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

      Child Development Disorders, Pervasive, Siblings, Severity of Illness Index, Risk, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Phenotype, Male, Intelligence Tests, Infant, Humans, Female, Child, Preschool, genetics, diagnosis, psychology

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          Abstract

          First-degree relatives of persons with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at increased risk for ASD-related characteristics. As little is known about the early expression of these characteristics, this study characterizes the non-ASD outcomes of 3-year-old high-risk (HR) siblings of children with ASD. Two groups of children without ASD participated: 507 HR siblings and 324 low-risk (LR) control subjects (no known relatives with ASD). Children were enrolled at a mean age of 8 months, and outcomes were assessed at 3 years. Outcome measures were Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) calibrated severity scores, and Mullen Verbal and Non-Verbal Developmental Quotients (DQ). At 3 years, HR siblings without an ASD outcome exhibited higher mean ADOS severity scores and lower verbal and non-verbal DQs than LR controls. HR siblings were over-represented (21% HR versus 7% LR) in latent classes characterized by elevated ADOS severity and/or low to low-average DQs. The remaining HR siblings without ASD outcomes (79%) belonged to classes in which they were not differentially represented with respect to LR siblings. Having removed a previously identified 18.7% of HR siblings with ASD outcomes from all analyses, HR siblings nevertheless exhibited higher mean levels of ASD severity and lower levels of developmental functioning than LR children. However, the latent class membership of four-fifths of the HR siblings was not significantly different from that of LR control subjects. One-fifth of HR siblings belonged to classes characterized by higher ASD severity and/or lower levels of developmental functioning. This empirically derived characterization of an early-emerging pattern of difficulties in a minority of 3-year-old HR siblings suggests the importance of developmental surveillance and early intervention for these children. Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          23452686
          10.1016/j.jaac.2012.12.011
          3625370

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