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Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder in Toddlers Born Very Preterm: Estimated Prevalence and Usefulness of Screeners and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS).

Authors
  • Vermeirsch, Julie1
  • Verhaeghe, Liedewij2
  • Casaer, Alexandra3
  • Faes, Fran4
  • Oostra, Ann4
  • Roeyers, Herbert5
  • 1 Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000, Ghent, Belgium. [email protected] , (Belgium)
  • 2 Centre for Rehabilitation Accent, Lageplein 12/14, 8501, Heule, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 3 Department of Neonatal Medicine, General Hospital of Saint-Jan Bruges-Ostend, Ruddershove 10, 8000, Bruges, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 4 Centre for Developmental Disorders, Ghent University Hospital, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000, Ghent, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 5 Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000, Ghent, Belgium. , (Belgium)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 01, 2021
Volume
51
Issue
5
Pages
1508–1527
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-020-04573-6
PMID: 32757085
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study estimated ASD prevalence in a cohort of 3-year-old very preterm children (N = 55) and investigated the usefulness of parent-reported ASD screeners and the ADOS-2. 12.7% received an ASD diagnosis by clinical judgment based on DSM-5 criteria. An additional 14.5% were classified as having a broader-autism-phenotype outcome. Sensitivity values for the screeners were poor, whereas specificity values ranged from poor to excellent. The ADOS-2 identified all children with ASD and had a fair specificity. These findings confirm the elevated ASD prevalence made by previous studies with preterm children but also highlight the challenges of successfully identifying ASD in this at-risk group. Caution is warranted when interpreting results of ASD instruments with the currently available cut-off scores and algorithms, especially when developmental challenges are present.

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