, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 15-22

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

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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.