Studying the emergence of autism spectrum disorders in high-risk infants: Methodological and practical issues

Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Audrey Thurm, Wendy Stone, Grace Baranek, Susan Bryson, Jana Iverson, Alice Kau, Ami Klin, Cathy Lord, Rebecca Landa, Sally Rogers, Marian Sigman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Detecting early signs of autism is essential for timely diagnosis and initiation of effective interventions. Several research groups have initiated prospective studies of high-risk populations including infant siblings, to systematically collect data on early signs within a longitudinal design. Despite the potential advantages of prospective studies of young children at high-risk for autism, there are also significant methodological, ethical and practical challenges. This paper outlines several of these challenges, including those related to sampling (e.g., defining appropriate comparison groups), measurement and clinical implications (e.g., addressing the needs of infants suspected of having early signs). We suggest possible design and implementation strategies to address these various challenges, based on current research efforts in the field and previous studies involving high-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-480
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Child development
  • Early identification
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Prospective studies
  • Screening
  • Siblings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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  • Cite this

    Zwaigenbaum, L., Thurm, A., Stone, W., Baranek, G., Bryson, S., Iverson, J., Kau, A., Klin, A., Lord, C., Landa, R., Rogers, S., & Sigman, M. (2007). Studying the emergence of autism spectrum disorders in high-risk infants: Methodological and practical issues. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(3), 466-480. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0179-x