Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 221–229 | Cite as

Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorders in 12-Month-Old High-Risk Siblings by Parental Report

  • Justin RowberryEmail author
  • Suzanne Macari
  • Grace Chen
  • Daniel Campbell
  • John M. Leventhal
  • Carol Weitzman
  • Katarzyna Chawarska
Original Paper


This study examines whether parental report of social-communicative and repetitive behaviors at 12 months can be helpful in identifying autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in younger siblings of children with ASD [high-risk (HR)-siblings]. Parents of HR-siblings and infants without a family history of ASD completed the First Year Inventory at 12 months. Developmental outcomes were based on 24- or 36-month assessments. HR-siblings later diagnosed with ASD showed greater impairments in social communication than those with other developmental outcomes based on parental and clinician ratings. Parental report of decline in play and communication and impaired vocal imitation correctly classified a majority of ASD cases with high specificity. These preliminary findings have important implications for the development of early screening instruments for ASD in HR-siblings.


ASD High-risk siblings Screening Imitation 



We would also like to thank Celine Saulnier, Amanda Steiner, Karen Bearss, Amy Carney, Liz Simmons, and Megan Lyons for their contribution to the sample characterization as well as Kerry O’Loughlin and Jessica Garczarek for assistance in data collection. We would like to thank Grace Baranek, Steve Reznick, Lauren Brown, Linda Watson, and Elizabeth Crais at the University of North Carolina for their comments on the manuscript. We express our appreciation to the families and their children for their time and participation. This study was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development P01 HD003008, Project 1 (PI: K Chawarska), the National Institutes of Mental Health R01MH087554-01 (PI: K Chawarska), and Autism Speaks #7614 (PI: Campbell).

Conflict of interest

Daniel Cambell, PhD, receives salary and stock options from Amgen Inc. All other authors declare no conflict of interest. The content of this study is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Mental Health, Yale Child Study Center, United States Air Force Medical Service or Department of Defense.

Ethical standards

Informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to their participation. This study was approved by the University’s Institutional Review Board and was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards established in the Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Rowberry
    • 1
    Email author
  • Suzanne Macari
    • 2
  • Grace Chen
    • 3
  • Daniel Campbell
    • 4
  • John M. Leventhal
    • 5
  • Carol Weitzman
    • 5
  • Katarzyna Chawarska
    • 2
  1. 1.Developmental and Behavioral PediatricsMike O’Callaghan Federal Medical CenterNellis Air Force BaseUSA
  2. 2.Child Study CenterYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Amgen Inc.Thousand OaksUSA
  5. 5.Developmental and Behavioral PediatricsYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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