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Pediatr Int. 2017 Apr;59(4):416-421. doi: 10.1111/ped.13202. Epub 2017 Jan 31.

What happens to children who move off the autism spectrum? Clinical follow-up study.

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Istanbul Institute of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Istanbul, Turkey.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, Koc University Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital for Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases, Istanbul, Turkey.



There is controversial information on outcome of school age individuals who lose the diagnosis of autism and achieve "optimal outcome" (OO). The present study assessed the autism symptoms and other psychiatric disorders in a group of children with a past history of autism.


The subjects consisted of 26 individuals who had lost the diagnosis of autism 2-8 years previously. Clinical assessment was done with both parents and children. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edn; DSM-V) criteria were used for diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In addition, Childhood Autism Rating Scale and Social Communication Questionnaire (current version) were used. Psychiatric disorders were assessed using the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL).


None of the participants met the criteria for ASD. Ninety-two percent had a lifetime diagnosis and 81% had a present psychiatric disorder based on the K-SADS. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, specific phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder were the most common disorders.


Improved status with regard to autism symptomatology is maintained over time, but these individuals are vulnerable to developing other psychiatric disorders. It is crucial to maintain psychiatric follow up of children who move off the autism spectrum.


autism; disorder; follow up; optimal outcome; psychiatric

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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