Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 466–480

Studying the Emergence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in High-risk Infants: Methodological and Practical Issues

  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
  • Audrey Thurm
  • Wendy Stone
  • Grace Baranek
  • Susan Bryson
  • Jana Iverson
  • Alice Kau
  • Ami Klin
  • Cathy Lord
  • Rebecca Landa
  • Sally Rogers
  • Marian Sigman
Original Paper

Abstract

Detecting early signs of autism is essential for timely diagnosis and initiation of effective interventions. Several research groups have initiated prospective studies of high-risk populations including infant siblings, to systematically collect data on early signs within a longitudinal design. Despite the potential advantages of prospective studies of young children at high-risk for autism, there are also significant methodological, ethical and practical challenges. This paper outlines several of these challenges, including those related to sampling (e.g., defining appropriate comparison groups), measurement and clinical implications (e.g., addressing the needs of infants suspected of having early signs). We suggest possible design and implementation strategies to address these various challenges, based on current research efforts in the field and previous studies involving high-risk populations.

Keywords

Early identification Screening Longitudinal studies Prospective studies Infant Autism Child development Siblings 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
    • 1
  • Audrey Thurm
    • 2
  • Wendy Stone
    • 3
  • Grace Baranek
    • 4
  • Susan Bryson
    • 5
  • Jana Iverson
    • 6
  • Alice Kau
    • 7
  • Ami Klin
    • 8
  • Cathy Lord
    • 9
  • Rebecca Landa
    • 10
    • 11
  • Sally Rogers
    • 12
  • Marian Sigman
    • 13
  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsMcMaster Children’s Hospital at McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric Translational Research and Treatment DevelopmentNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Human DevelopmentVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Division of Occupational ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Pediatrics and PsychologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  7. 7.Center for Developmental Biology and Perinatal MedicineNational Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentBethesdaUSA
  8. 8.Yale Child Study CentreYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  9. 9.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  10. 10.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesKennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUSA
  11. 11.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  12. 12.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of California at DavisSacramentoUSA
  13. 13.Departments of Psychology and PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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