A Prospective Case Series of High-risk Infants who Developed Autism
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The present paper documents the development of autism/autistic spectrum disorder in a consecutive series of nine high-risk infants followed prospectively from 6 months of age. Evidence is provided for two broadly defined subgroups: the first subgroup (n = 6) showed a decrease in IQ between 12 and 24 or 36 months (from average/near average to severe cognitive impairment), whereas the second subgroup (n = 3) continued to obtain average or near average IQs. Signs of autism emerged and/or were more striking earlier in the first subgroup. In all nine children, early impairment in social-communicative development coexisted with atypical sensory and/or motor behaviors, as did a temperamental profile marked by irritability/distress and dysregulated state. Discussion focuses on issues raised by the pattern of findings.
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