Autism from Age 2 to 26: What Can We Learn About Treatment from Longitudinal Studies (CP)
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Catherine Lord, Ph.D. Presented at the 2017 Michigan Autism Conference
Abstract: As the number of preschool children identified with ASD increases each year, so too will the number of children with ASD moving into adolescence. The aims of the research are to determine predictors of adolescent and adult outcome measured in adaptive skills, quality of life, positive mood, behavior problems and symptoms of anxiety and depression. The project represents a shift in emphasis from attention primarily on negative outcomes to consideration of coping strategies for individuals and families and their impact on well-being and independence. The natural history of behavioral, cognitive, language and social development from ages 2 to 22 are examined in two well-described samples of children from North Carolina and Chicago originally referred for possible ASD, and a group of non-spectrum developmentally delayed controls. One hundred eighty seven out of 213 original children currently remain in the Early Diagnosis study initially funded by NIMH and NICHD. These children were seen at ages 2, 3, 5 and 9. Their families have participated in phone interviews and completed packets of questionnaires when the children were between 11 and 18 years with a focus on relationships among adaptive skills, behavior problems, pubertal development and adolescent onset of seizures. Face to face interviews and assessments from age 10 to 26 have been conducted so we have new results about what adults are now doing and experiencing. We hope these studies can provide important information about individual differences in developmental trajectories in ASD and the factors that contribute to positive and negative aspects of outcome in adolescents and young adults.