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J Autism Dev Disord. 2012 Jun;42(6):954-60. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1323-9.

Adaptive response of children and adolescents with autism to the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Public Health, University of L'Aquila, Coppito Hospital Building Delta 6, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.


The literature offers no descriptions of the adaptive outcomes of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) after natural disasters. Aim of this study was to evaluate the adaptive behaviour of participants with ASD followed for 1 year after their exposure to the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila (Italy) compared with an unexposed peer group with ASD, by administering the Italian form of the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (VABS) at baseline, 6 months and 1 year after the earthquake. Exposed participants declined dramatically in their adaptive behaviour during the first months after the earthquake (p < 0.01 for all VABS dimensions). However, immediate intensive post-disaster intervention allowed children and adolescents with autism showing a trend towards partial recovery of adaptive functioning.

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