Author(s): Turner LM, Stone WL, Pozdol SL, Coonrod EE
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Abstract The purpose of the present study was to examine the developmental outcomes of children 7 years after their initial diagnosis. Children diagnosed with autism or PDD-NOS at age 2 received follow-up evaluations at age 9. Diagnostic stability was high, with 88 percent of the sample obtaining autism spectrum diagnoses at age 9. Cognitive scores improved considerably for a large segment of the sample, with over 50 percent obtaining scores in the average range at follow-up. Language outcomes were also positive at follow-up; 88 percent of the sample demonstrated at least some functional language, and 32 percent were able to engage in conversational exchanges. Early characteristics that predicted outcome status were: age of diagnosis, age 2 cognitive and language scores, and total hours of speech-language therapy between ages 2 and 3. These findings highlight the potential long-term benefits of both early identification and early intervention, and provide additional evidence for the importance of promoting public awareness of the early signs of autism.
This article was published in Autism
and referenced in Autism-Open Access