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Autism. 2006 May;10(3):243-65.

Follow-up of children with autism spectrum disorders from age 2 to age 9.

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Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA.


The purpose of the present study was to examine the developmental outcomes of children 7 years after their initial diagnosis. Children diagnosed with autism or PDD-NOS at age 2 received follow-up evaluations at age 9. Diagnostic stability was high, with 88 percent of the sample obtaining autism spectrum diagnoses at age 9. Cognitive scores improved considerably for a large segment of the sample, with over 50 percent obtaining scores in the average range at follow-up. Language outcomes were also positive at follow-up; 88 percent of the sample demonstrated at least some functional language, and 32 percent were able to engage in conversational exchanges. Early characteristics that predicted outcome status were: age of diagnosis, age 2 cognitive and language scores, and total hours of speech-language therapy between ages 2 and 3. These findings highlight the potential long-term benefits of both early identification and early intervention, and provide additional evidence for the importance of promoting public awareness of the early signs of autism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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