Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 616-625

First online:

Differentiating Autism and Asperger Syndrome on the Basis of Language Delay or Impairment

  • Terry BennettAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
  • , Peter SzatmariAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster UniversityOfford Centre for Child Studies Email author 
  • , Susan BrysonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University
  • , Joanne VoldenAffiliated withSpeech Pathology and Audiology, University of Alberta
  • , Lonnie ZwaigenbaumAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Alberta
  • , Liezanne VaccarellaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
  • , Eric DukuAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
  • , Michael BoyleAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Asperger syndrome (AS) is differentiated from high-functioning autism (HFA) largely on a history of “language delay.” This study examined “specific language impairment” as a predictor of outcome. Language skills of 19 children with AS and 45 with HFA were assessed at 4–6 years of age (Time 1) and 2 years later (Time 2). Children’s symptoms and functional outcome scores were assessed every 2 years (Times 3, 4, and 5) until ages 15–17 years old. Regression analysis revealed that specific language impairment at time 2 more often accounted for the greatest variation in outcome scores in adolescence than the standard diagnosis of AS versus HFA based on history of language delay. Diagnostic implications are discussed.

Keywords

Autism Asperger syndrome Language impairment Outcomes