Cognitive abilities in siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders
- 870 Downloads
The aim of the present study was to assess the cognitive profiles of children with autistic spectrum disorder and of their healthy siblings (Siblings). With the term cognitive profile, we indicate the relationship extant among the values of verbal and performance subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. The conducted statistical analyses indicated that, although siblings showed a normal intelligent quotient and did not differ in this aspect from typically developing group, their cognitive profile was amazingly similar to that of their relatives affected by autism. A k-means clustering analysis on the values of single subtests further confirmed this result, showing a clear separation between typically developing children on the one side, and autistics and their siblings on the other. We suggest that the common cognitive profile observed in autistic children and their siblings could represent a marker of liability to autism and, thus, a possible intermediate phenotype of this syndrome.
KeywordsAutism Siblings Cognitive profile Endophenotype WISC
VG, PA and CC were supported by ERC Grant Cogsystem to GR, contract no. 250013. We thank Dr. Fabio Sambataro and Sonia Boria for critical reading and for their remarks on previous versions of the manuscript. A special thanks to the staff of the Pediatric Neuropsychiatry of Empoli, of the rehabilitation center for autism “Centro Mai Soli” in Genova, of the Institute of Rehabilitation “Village Eugenio Litta,” Grottaferrata, Roma, and of the Autism Center of Parma for their invaluable collaboration in data collection. We also thank the staff and families of IV Circolo “Risorgimento - San Berardo” primary school in Teramo for providing the control group. Last but not least, thanks to all the children and their families for the availability and patience.
- American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edn., text revised. American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- American Psychiatric Association (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edn. American Psychiatric Publishing, ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
- Anderberg MR (1973) Cluster analysis for applications. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Constantino JN, Gruber CP (2005) Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Western Psychological Services, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
- Narita T, Koga Y (1987) Neuropsychological assessment of childhood autism. Adv Biol Psychiatry 16:156–170Google Scholar
- Oerlemans AM, van der Meer JMJ, van Steijn DJ, de Ruiter SW, de Bruijn YGE, de Sonneville LMJ, Buitelaar JK, Rommelse NNJ (2013) Recognition of facial emotion and affective prosody in children with ASD (+ADHD) and their unaffected siblings. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. doi: 10.1007/s00787-013-0446-2 Google Scholar
- Orsini L, Picone S (2006) Weschsler Intelligence Scale for Children—III Edizione Italiana Giunti OS, FirenzeGoogle Scholar
- Pilowsky T, Yirmiya N, Gross-Tsur V, Shalev RS (2007) Neuropsychological functioning of siblings of children with autism, siblings of children with developmental language delay and siblings of children with mental retardation of unknown of genetic etiology. J Autism Dev Disord 37:537–552PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wechsler D (1974) Manual for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—revised. Psychological Corporation, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Wechsler D (1991) Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—third edition manual. Psychological Corporation, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Wechsler D (2003) WISC-IV technical and interpretative manual. Psychological Corporation, San AntonioGoogle Scholar