The association between social emotional development and symptom presentation in autism spectrum disorder Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractUnderstanding differences in social-emotional behavior can help identify atypical development. This study examined the differences in social-emotional development in children at increased risk of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis (infant siblings of children diagnosed with the disorder). Parents completed the Brief Infant-Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) to determine its ability to flag children with later-diagnosed ASD in a high-risk (HR) sibling population. Parents of HR (n= 311) and low-risk (LR; no family history of ASD;n= 127) children completed the BITSEA when their children were 18 months old and all children underwent a diagnostic assessment for ASD at age 3 years. All six subscales of the BITSEA (Problems, Competence, ASD Problems, ASD Competence, Total ASD Score, and Red Flags) distinguished between those in the HR group who were diagnosed with ASD (n= 84) compared to non-ASD-diagnosed children (both HR-N and LR). One subscale (BITSEA Competence) differentiated between the HR children not diagnosed with ASD and the LR group. The results suggest that tracking early social-emotional development may have implications for all HR children, as they are at increased risk of ASD but also other developmental or mental health conditions.


  • Reid, Kyle B
  • Sacrey, Lori-Ann R
  • Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie
  • Raza, Sarah
  • Brian, Jessica
  • Smith, Isabel M
  • Bryson, Susan
  • Armstrong, Vickie
  • Roberts, Wendy
  • Szatmari, Peter
  • Vaillancourt, Tracy
  • Roncadin, Caroline

publication date

  • October 2020