Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Behavioral Development and Sociodemographics of Infants and Young Children at Higher and Lower Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.

  2. Bolton, P. F., Golding, J., Emond, A., & Steer, C. D. (2012). Autism spectrum disorder and autistic traits in the Avon longitudinal study of parents and children: Precursors and early signs. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51, 249–260.

  3. Bolton, P., Macdonald, H., Pickles, A., Rios, P., Goode, S., Crowson, M., et al. (1994). A case-control family history study of autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 877–900.

  4. Cidav, Z., Marcus, S. C., & Mandell, D. S. (2012). Implications of childhood autism for parental employment and earnings. Pediatrics, 129(4), 617–623. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2700.

  5. Clifford, S. M., Hudry, K., Elsabbagh, M., Charman, T., Johnson, M. H., & The BASIS Team. (2013). Temperament in the first 2 years of life in infants at high-risk for autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 673–686. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1612-y.

  6. Constantino, J. N., Zhang, Y., Frazier, T., Abbacchi, A. M., & Law, P. (2010). Sibling recurrence and the genetic epidemiology of autism. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167, 1349–1356.

  7. Cotton, S. M., & Richdale, A. L. (2010). Sleep patterns and behaviour in typically developing children and children with autism, down syndrome, prader-willi syndrome and intellectual disability. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4, 490–500.

  8. Dodds, L., Fell, D. B., Shea, S., Armson, B. A., Allen, A. C., & Bryson, S. (2011). The role of prenatal, obstetric and neonatal factors in the development of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41, 891–902.

  9. Emerson, E. (2012). Deprivation, ethnicity and the prevalence of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66, 218–224.

  10. Emond, A., Emmett, P., Steer, C., & Golding, J. (2010). Feeding symptoms, dietary patterns, and growth in young children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 126(2), 337–342.

  11. Feldman, M. A., Hancock, C. L., Rielly, N., Minnes, P., & Cairns, C. (2000). Behavior problems in young children with or at risk for developmental delay. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 9, 247–261.

  12. Feldman, M. A., Ward, R. A., Savona, D., Regehr, K., Parker, K., Hudson, M., et al. (2012). Development and initial validation of a parent report measure of the behavioral development of infants at risk for autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 13–22.

  13. Garon, N., Bryson, S. E., Zwaigenbaum, L., Smith, I. M., Brian, J., Roberts, W., et al. (2008). Temperament and its relationship to autistic symptoms in a high-risk infant sib cohort. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 59–78.

  14. Goldberg, W., Jarvis, K., Osann, K., Laulhere, T., Straub, C., Thomas, E., et al. (2005). Brief report: Early social communication behaviors in the younger siblings of children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35(5), 657–664.

  15. Gould, T., & Gottesman, I. (2006). Psychiatric endophenotypes and the development of valid animal models. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 5(2), 113–119.

  16. Jones, E. J. H., Gliga, T., Bedford, R., Charman, T., & Johnson, M. H. (2014). Developmental pathways to autism: A review of prospective studies of infants at risk. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 39, 1–33.

  17. Kleinman, J. M., Robins, D. L., Ventola, P. E., Pandey, J., Boorstein, H. C., Esser, E. L., et al. (2008). The modified checklist for autism in toddlers: A follow-up study investigating the early detection of autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 827–839.

  18. Landa, R., & Garrett-Mayer, E. (2006). Development in infants with autism spectrum disorders: A prospective study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(6), 629–638.

  19. Landa, R. J., Gross, A. L., Stuart, E. A., & Bauman, M. (2012). Latent class analysis of early developmental trajectory in baby siblings of children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 986–996.

  20. Landa, R. J., Holman, K. C., & Garrett-Mayer, E. (2007). Social and communication development in toddlers with early and later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64(7), 853–864.

  21. Larsson, H. J., Eaton, W. W., Madsen, K. M., Vestergaard, M., Olesen, A. V., Agerbo, E., et al. (2005). Risk factors for autism: Perinatal factors, parental psychiatric history, and socioeconomic status. American Journal of Epidemiology, 161, 916–925.

  22. Loh, A., Soman, T., Brian, J., Bryson, S. E., Roberts, W., Szatmari, P., et al. (2007). Stereotyped motor behaviors associated with autism in high-risk infants: A pilot videotape analysis of a sibling sample. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 25–36.

  23. Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E. H, Jr, Leventhal, B. L., DiLavore, P. C., et al. (2000). The Autism diagnostic observation schedule—generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 205–223.

  24. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2002). Autism diagnostic observation schedule—generic. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.

  25. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism diagnostic interview-revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 659–685.

  26. McDonald, N. M., & Messinger, D. S. (2012). Empathic responding in toddlers at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 1566–1573. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1390-y.

  27. Messinger, D., Young, G. S., Ozonoff, S., Dobkins, K., Carter, A., Zwaigenbaum, L., et al. (2013). Beyond autism: A baby siblings research consortium study of high-risk children at three years of age. Journal American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52, 300–308.

  28. Mitchell, S., Brian, J., Zwaigenbaum, L., Roberts, W., Szatmari, P., Smith, I., et al. (2006). Early language and communication development of infants later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 27, 69–78.

  29. Nakagawa, S., & Foster, T. M. (2004). The case against retrospective statistical power analyses with an introduction to power analysis. Acta Ethologica, 7, 103–108.

  30. Ozonoff, S., Iosif, A. M., Baguio, F., Cook, I. C., Hill, M. M., Hutman, T., et al. (2010). A prospective study of the emergence of early behavioral signs of autism. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 256–266.

  31. Ozonoff, S., Young, G. S., Carter, A., Messinger, D., Yirmiya, N., Zwaigenbaum, L., et al. (2011). Recurrence risk for autism spectrum disorders: A baby siblings research consortium study. Pediatrics, 128(3), e488–e495.

  32. Pickles, A., Starr, E., Kazak, S., Bolton, P., Papanikolaou, K., Bailey, A., et al. (2000). Variable expression of the autism broader phenotype: Findings from extended pedigrees. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 41, 491–502.

  33. Rai, D., Lewis, G., Lundberg, M., Araya, R., Svensson, A., Dalman, C., et al. (2012). Offspring autism spectrum disorders in a Swedish population-based study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51, 467–476.

  34. Rivet, T., & Matson, J. (2011). Review of gender differences in core symptomatology in autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(3), 957–976.

  35. Rozga, A., Hutman, T., Young, G. S., Rogers, S. J., Ozonoff, S., Dapretto, M., et al. (2011). Behavioral profiles of affected and unaffected siblings of children with autism: Contribution of measures of mother–infant interaction and nonverbal communication. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41, 287–301. doi:10.1007/s10803-010-1051-6.

  36. Saint-Georges, C., Cassel, R., Cohen, D., Chetouani, M., Laznik, M., Maestro, S., et al. (2010). What studies of family home movies can teach us about autistic infants: A literature review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4(3), 355–366.

  37. Schopler, E., Reichler, R. J., & Renner, B. R. (1988). The childhood autism rating scale. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.

  38. Schwichtenberg, A. J., Young, G. S., Sigman, M., Hutman, T., & Ozonoff, S. (2010). Can family affectedness inform infant sibling outcomes of autism spectrum disorders? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 1021–1030.

  39. Statistics Canada (2013). Income composition in Canada. National Household Survey of 2011. Retrieved on Aug. 7, 2014, from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-014-x/99-014-x2011001-eng.pdf.

  40. Thomas, P., Zahorodny, W., Peng, B., Kim, S., Jani, N., Halperin, W., et al. (2012). The association of autism diagnosis with socioeconomic status. Autism, 16, 201–213.

  41. Wan, M. W., Green, J., Elsabbagh, M., Johnson, M., Charman, T., & Plummer, F. (2012). Parent–infant interaction in infant siblings at risk of autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33, 924–932.

  42. Werner, E., Dawson, G., Osterling, J., & Dinno, N. (2000). Brief report: Recognition of autism spectrum disorder before one year of age: A retrospective study based on home videotapes. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 157–162.

  43. Wetherby, A. M., Woods, J., Allen, L., Cleary, J., Dickinson, H., & Lord, C. (2004). Early indicators of autism spectrum disorders in the second year of life. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 473–493.

  44. Zwaigenbaum, L., Bryson, S., Rogers, T., Roberts, W., Brian, J., & Szatmari, P. (2005). Behavioral manifestations of autism in the first year of life. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 23, 143–152.

Download references

Acknowledgments

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.

Author information

Correspondence to Maurice A. Feldman.

Additional information

This paper is dedicated to the memory of Jeanette J. Holden.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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

Download citation

Keywords

  • Early identification
  • At-risk infants
  • Infant siblings