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J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Jan;37(1):12-24. Epub 2007 Jan 9.

A prospective case series of high-risk infants who developed autism.

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  • 1Autism Research Centre, IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University, 5850 University Avenue, Halifax, NS, Canada, B3K 6R8.


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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