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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;53(9):986-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02558.x. Epub 2012 May 10.

Latent class analysis of early developmental trajectory in baby siblings of children with autism.

Author information

1
Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA. landa@kennedykrieger.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Siblings of children with autism (sibs-A) are at increased genetic risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and milder impairments. To elucidate diversity and contour of early developmental trajectories exhibited by sibs-A, regardless of diagnostic classification, latent class modeling was used.

METHODS:

Sibs-A (N = 204) were assessed with the Mullen Scales of Early Learning from age 6 to 36 months. Mullen T scores served as dependent variables. Outcome classifications at age 36 months included: ASD (N = 52); non-ASD social/communication delay (broader autism phenotype; BAP; N = 31); and unaffected (N = 121). Child-specific patterns of performance were studied using latent class growth analysis. Latent class membership was then related to diagnostic outcome through estimation of within-class proportions of children assigned to each diagnostic classification.

RESULTS:

A 4-class model was favored. Class 1 represented accelerated development and consisted of 25.7% of the sample, primarily unaffected children. Class 2 (40.0% of the sample), was characterized by normative development with above-average nonverbal cognitive outcome. Class 3 (22.3% of the sample) was characterized by receptive language, and gross and fine motor delay. Class 4 (12.0% of the sample), was characterized by widespread delayed skill acquisition, reflected by declining trajectories. Children with an outcome diagnosis of ASD were spread across Classes 2, 3, and 4.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results support a category of ASD that involves slowing in early non-social development. Receptive language and motor development is vulnerable to early delay in sibs-A with and without ASD outcomes. Non-ASD sibs-A are largely distributed across classes depicting average or accelerated development. Developmental trajectories of motor, language, and cognition appear independent of communication and social delays in non-ASD sibs-A.

PMID:
22574686
PMCID:
PMC3432306
DOI:
10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02558.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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