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Predictors in Outcome of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Introduction: It has been studied that very early intervention may help improve neurodevelopmental disturbances arising from impoverished socio-emotional interactions in the first years of life, however, there is still a lack of knowledge regarding developmental prognostic indicators.

Objectives: With this study we aimed to investigate developmental trajectories of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in order to identify predictive prognosis factors.

Methods: We examined clinical features of 55 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, in two moments of evaluation, with an interval of three years. They were assessed with the Childhood Autism Rating Scale and with Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule as a symptom of severity measure, at both moments, and with Ruth Griffiths Scale to evaluate developmental profile. We selected two groups, based on the results obtained at moment 2. We also selected questions from a questionnaire to parents in order to understand if early parents’ concerns can predict prognosis. Results: Over time, the number of worse cases decreased significantly. We found a strong correlation between Personal Relation (r=0.798, p<0.001), Imitation (r=0.622, p<0.001) and Verbal (r=0.730, p<0.001) and non-verbal communication (r=0.699, p<0.001) and the score obtained in the second evaluation. Also, Interactive gestures, Joint attention, Reciprocity and Pleasure in interaction obtained strong correlations with the final scores.

Discussion: Personal Relation, Imitation and both verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as Interactive gestures, Joint attention, Reciprocity and Pleasure in interaction may have a good predictive value in the development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Alda Mira Coelho*, Fábio Gouveia and Virgínia da Conceição

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