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J Child Neurol. 1999 Oct;14(10):636-41.

Autism and autistic behavior in Joubert syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112-0251, USA.


To determine whether individuals with Joubert syndrome exhibit features of autism as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV), we examined 11 children with Joubert syndrome using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic. Three children met DSM-IV criteria for autistic disorder and one for pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. The other seven all demonstrated at least one DSM-IV symptom of autism, but did not meet criteria for a pervasive developmental disorder. Both total number of DSM-IV symptoms and number of social symptoms distinguished the autism and nonautism subgroups. In contrast, the two subgroups displayed similar levels of communication impairments and repetitive or stereotyped behavior. The key to diagnosing autism in Joubert syndrome is to focus on social behaviors, particularly milestones typically achieved very early in life (eg, attending to human voices, showing objects of interest, enjoyment of social interactions). Implications for the role of the cerebellum in nonmotor behavior and for clinical management of Joubert syndrome also are discussed.

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