Beyond autism

A baby siblings research consortium study of high-risk children at three years of age

Daniel Messinger, Gregory S. Young, Sally Ozonoff, Karen Dobkins, Alice Carter, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Rebecca Landa, Tony Charman, Wendy L. Stone, John N. Constantino, Ted Hutman, Leslie J. Carver, Susan Bryson, Jana M. Iverson, Mark S. Strauss, Sally J. Rogers, Marian Sigman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: First-degree relatives of persons with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at increased risk for ASD-related characteristics. As little is known about the early expression of these characteristics, this study characterizes the non-ASD outcomes of 3-year-old high-risk (HR) siblings of children with ASD. Method: Two groups of children without ASD participated: 507 HR siblings and 324 low-risk (LR) control subjects (no known relatives with ASD). Children were enrolled at a mean age of 8 months, and outcomes were assessed at 3 years. Outcome measures were Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) calibrated severity scores, and Mullen Verbal and Non-Verbal Developmental Quotients (DQ). Results: At 3 years, HR siblings without an ASD outcome exhibited higher mean ADOS severity scores and lower verbal and non-verbal DQs than LR controls. HR siblings were over-represented (21% HR versus 7% LR) in latent classes characterized by elevated ADOS severity and/or low to low-average DQs. The remaining HR siblings without ASD outcomes (79%) belonged to classes in which they were not differentially represented with respect to LR siblings. Conclusions: Having removed a previously identified 18.7% of HR siblings with ASD outcomes from all analyses, HR siblings nevertheless exhibited higher mean levels of ASD severity and lower levels of developmental functioning than LR children. However, the latent class membership of four-fifths of the HR siblings was not significantly different from that of LR control subjects. One-fifth of HR siblings belonged to classes characterized by higher ASD severity and/or lower levels of developmental functioning. This empirically derived characterization of an early-emerging pattern of difficulties in a minority of 3-year-old HR siblings suggests the importance of developmental surveillance and early intervention for these children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

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Autistic Disorder
Siblings
Research
Appointments and Schedules
Observation
Autism Spectrum Disorder

Keywords

  • ASD
  • broad autism phenotype
  • high-risk siblings
  • outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Beyond autism : A baby siblings research consortium study of high-risk children at three years of age. / Messinger, Daniel; Young, Gregory S.; Ozonoff, Sally; Dobkins, Karen; Carter, Alice; Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie; Landa, Rebecca; Charman, Tony; Stone, Wendy L.; Constantino, John N.; Hutman, Ted; Carver, Leslie J.; Bryson, Susan; Iverson, Jana M.; Strauss, Mark S.; Rogers, Sally J.; Sigman, Marian.

In: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol. 52, No. 3, 03.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Messinger, D, Young, GS, Ozonoff, S, Dobkins, K, Carter, A, Zwaigenbaum, L, Landa, R, Charman, T, Stone, WL, Constantino, JN, Hutman, T, Carver, LJ, Bryson, S, Iverson, JM, Strauss, MS, Rogers, SJ & Sigman, M 2013, 'Beyond autism: A baby siblings research consortium study of high-risk children at three years of age', Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, vol. 52, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2012.12.011
Messinger, Daniel ; Young, Gregory S. ; Ozonoff, Sally ; Dobkins, Karen ; Carter, Alice ; Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie ; Landa, Rebecca ; Charman, Tony ; Stone, Wendy L. ; Constantino, John N. ; Hutman, Ted ; Carver, Leslie J. ; Bryson, Susan ; Iverson, Jana M. ; Strauss, Mark S. ; Rogers, Sally J. ; Sigman, Marian. / Beyond autism : A baby siblings research consortium study of high-risk children at three years of age. In: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2013 ; Vol. 52, No. 3.
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abstract = "Objective: First-degree relatives of persons with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at increased risk for ASD-related characteristics. As little is known about the early expression of these characteristics, this study characterizes the non-ASD outcomes of 3-year-old high-risk (HR) siblings of children with ASD. Method: Two groups of children without ASD participated: 507 HR siblings and 324 low-risk (LR) control subjects (no known relatives with ASD). Children were enrolled at a mean age of 8 months, and outcomes were assessed at 3 years. Outcome measures were Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) calibrated severity scores, and Mullen Verbal and Non-Verbal Developmental Quotients (DQ). Results: At 3 years, HR siblings without an ASD outcome exhibited higher mean ADOS severity scores and lower verbal and non-verbal DQs than LR controls. HR siblings were over-represented (21{\%} HR versus 7{\%} LR) in latent classes characterized by elevated ADOS severity and/or low to low-average DQs. The remaining HR siblings without ASD outcomes (79{\%}) belonged to classes in which they were not differentially represented with respect to LR siblings. Conclusions: Having removed a previously identified 18.7{\%} of HR siblings with ASD outcomes from all analyses, HR siblings nevertheless exhibited higher mean levels of ASD severity and lower levels of developmental functioning than LR children. However, the latent class membership of four-fifths of the HR siblings was not significantly different from that of LR control subjects. One-fifth of HR siblings belonged to classes characterized by higher ASD severity and/or lower levels of developmental functioning. This empirically derived characterization of an early-emerging pattern of difficulties in a minority of 3-year-old HR siblings suggests the importance of developmental surveillance and early intervention for these children.",
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AU - Carter, Alice

AU - Zwaigenbaum, Lonnie

AU - Landa, Rebecca

AU - Charman, Tony

AU - Stone, Wendy L.

AU - Constantino, John N.

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