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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;22(1):23-33. doi: 10.1007/s00787-012-0312-7. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Medical conditions affect the outcome of early intervention in preschool children with autism spectrum disorders.

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Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The aim was to explore the frequency of genetic and other medical conditions, including epilepsy, in a population-based group of 208 preschool children with early diagnosis of Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to relate outcome at a 2-year follow-up to the co-existing medical findings. They had all received early intervention. The Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (VABS-II) composite score served as the primary outcome measure. In the total group, 38/208 children (18 %) had a significant medical or genetic condition. Epilepsy was present in 6.3 % at the first assessment and in 8.6 % at follow-up and was associated with more severe intellectual impairment. A history of regression was reported in 22 %. Children with any medical/genetic condition, including epilepsy, as well as children with a history of regression had significantly lower VABS-II scores at the 2-year follow-up. Children with a medical/genetic condition, including epilepsy, had been diagnosed with ASD at an earlier age than those without such conditions, and early age at diagnosis also correlated negatively with adaptive functioning outcome. The results underscore the importance of considering medical/genetic aspects in all young children with ASD and the requirement to individualize and tailor interventions according to their specific needs.

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