, Volume 39, Issue 10, pp 1381-1391
Date: 16 May 2009

Predicting Social Impairment and ASD Diagnosis in Younger Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Later-born siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (Sibs-ASD) are at elevated risk for social impairments. Two putative predictors of later social impairment—measures of responding to joint attention and weighted triadic communication—were examined in a sample of 43 Sibs-ASD who were followed from 15 to 34 months of age. Results revealed that initial level of responding to joint attention and growth rate of weighted triadic communication predicted the degree of social impairment at the final measurement period. Additionally, both predictors were associated with later ASD diagnosis. In contrast, unweighted triadic communication, age of entry into the study, and initial language level did not predict later social impairment. The importance of considering social outcome as a continuous variable in prospective studies of Sibs-ASD is discussed.