Identification of early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) could lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention. This cross-sectional study used the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale (POEMS, Feldman et al. in J Autism Dev Disord 42:13–12, 2012) to identify early signs of ASD in 69 ASD high-risk (older sibling diagnosed with ASD) and 69 sex and aged-matched ASD low-risk second-born or later infants (no family history of ASD) between 6 and 36 months of age. Family sociodemographic comparisons were also made between the risk groups. The high-risk children had significantly more elevated POEMS items than the low-risk children at 12, 18, 24, 30 and 36 months of age, even when the children subsequently diagnosed with ASD were removed from the analyses. Families of the high-risk group had older parents, lower family income and fewer mothers working out of the home than the low-risk group. These sociodemographic variables were not significantly correlated with POEMS scores. The results suggest that high-risk infants may show signs of the broader ASD phenotype as early as 12 months of age that may be unrelated to observed sociodemographic family differences.
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This work was supported by CIHR Interdisciplinary Health Research Team grant (RT-43820) to the Autism Spectrum Disorders Canadian-American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC: www.autismresearch.ca) and funding from Ongwanada. We thank the families, students and research assistants who made this study possible.
This paper is dedicated to the memory of Jeanette J. Holden.
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Feldman, M.A., Hendry, A.M., Ward, R.A. et al. Behavioral Development and Sociodemographics of Infants and Young Children at Higher and Lower Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 45, 1167–1175 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2277-5
- Early identification
- At-risk infants
- Infant siblings