Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 15–22

Stability and Change Among High-Functioning Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A 2-Year Outcome Study


  • Elizabeth Starr
    • Faculty of EducationUniversity of Windsor
  • Peter Szatmari
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeurosciencesMcMaster University
  • Susan Bryson
    • Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology, IWK Health CentreDalhousie University
  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeurosciencesMcMaster University

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022222202970

Cite this article as:
Starr, E., Szatmari, P., Bryson, S. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2003) 33: 15. doi:10.1023/A:1022222202970


This study prospectively compared the 2-year outcome of children diagnosed with autism or Asperger syndrome at age 6–8 years in terms of symptoms from the Autism Diagnostic Interview. Significant differences were seen in the three-domain summary scores of social interaction, communication, and repetitive activities, with the Asperger syndrome group demonstrating fewer and/or less severe symptoms at both times. There was a trend for the trajectories to come together over time on the socialization and communication domains, but not the repetitive activities domain. Differences were not attributable to IQ. Analysis of individual items indicated that the autism group improved over time on seven items and showed increased symptom severity on three items. On the other hand, the Asperger syndrome group improved on only two items and showed increased symptom severity on six items. Results suggest that the two PDD subtypes represent similar developmental trajectories, although the Asperger syndrome group maintains its advantage. Educational and clinical implications of the results are discussed.

AutismAsperger syndromeADI-Rfollow-up
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003