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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 191–200 | Cite as

Support for a Dimensional View of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Toddlers

  • Lisa D. WigginsEmail author
  • Diana L. Robins
  • Lauren B. Adamson
  • Roger Bakeman
  • Christopher C. Henrich
Original paper

Abstract

We examined whether clinically distinct subgroups can be derived from a sample of toddlers (n = 186) who failed the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, received a comprehensive clinical evaluation, and were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Three subgroups emerged from cluster analysis distinguished by (a) social, communication, and intellectual skills and (b) the rate and intensity of repetitive behaviors and abnormal sensory response. Preoccupations, compulsions, and rituals did not distinguish resultant subgroups. These results support a dimensional diagnostic view of ASDs in toddlers since subgroup differences were based on symptom severity rather than different symptom profiles. Results also identify specific types and levels of behavioral deficit relevant to toddler populations. Implications for early diagnosis are discussed.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) Early identification Early diagnosis Cluster analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the early screening study teams at the University of Connecticut, under the direction of Dr. Deborah Fein, and Georgia State University, under the direction of Dr. Diana L. Robins. We would also like to acknowledge the children and families who participated in this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa D. Wiggins
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Diana L. Robins
    • 1
  • Lauren B. Adamson
    • 1
  • Roger Bakeman
    • 1
  • Christopher C. Henrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.NCBDDD/CDCAtlantaUSA

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