Epidemiology of autistic conditions in young children

1. Prevalence

Summary

Basing case selection on behavioural criteria, the entire 8–10 year old population of the County of Middlesex was screened to identify children with autistic behaviour. Screening was accomplished by behaviour questionnaires, completed by teachers or other supervisors, examination of case records and interviews with selected children and informants. Among 54 children who were found to show some evidence of the syndrome, two “autistic” subgroups and one “non-autistic” subgroup were defined, according to ratings on 24 behavioural items. The 35 “autistic” cases represent a prevalence rate of 4.5 per 10,000. Data for 32 of these were analyzed. Boys were more common than girls in a ratio of 2.6 to 1. The relationship between early development, type of onset and I.Q. at the survey mean age of 9 years 9 months, is discussed. The numbers of autistic children found are compared with those of children with other handicaps such as blindness. It is pointed out that sub-division according to the presence of developmental retardation is necessary for the useful comparison of reported groups, particularly with respect to estimates of prognosis.

Résumé

En choisissant les cas selon des critères de comportement, toute la population âgée de 8–10 ans dans le comté du Middlesex fut soigneusement examinée, afin d'identifier les enfants présentant un comportement, autiste. L'examen consista en questionnaires de comportement, complétés par les maîtres ou autres surveillants, l'examen des dossiers et des entretiens avec les enfants sélectionnés et les rapporteurs. Parmi les 54 enfants chez qui l'on releva quelque évidence du syndrome, 2 sous-groupes »autistes« et un sous-groupe »non-autiste« furent définis, d'après les résultats de 24 items des tests de compontement. Les 35 cas »autistes« représentent une proportion de 4,5 pour 10 000. Les données concernant 32 de ces cas ont été analysées. Il y avait plus de garçons que de filles dans le rapport de 2,6 pour 1. Les relations entre le développement antérieur, le genre de l'affection actuelle et le Q.I. à l'âge moyen lors de l'examen (9 ans 9 mois) sont discutées. Le nombre d'enfants autistes trouvé est comparé au nombre d'enfants présentant d'autres handicaps, comme la cécité. On souligne, en ce qui concerne le retard du développement, la nécessité de faire des subdivisions, afin de pouvoir comparer utilement les groupes étudiés, en particulier quant aux estimations pronostiques.

Zusammenfassung

Vermittels einer Fall-Suche nach Verhaltens-Kriterien wurde die Altersgruppe 8–10 Jahre der Population von Middlesex durchgegangen, um Kinder mit autistischem Verhalten festzustellen. Die Einordnung erfolgte mit Verhaltens-Fragebögen (ausgefüllt durch Lehrer oder andere Erziehungspersonen), durch Überprüfung von Fall-Geschichten und Interviews mit ausgewählten Kindern und sonstigen Informanten. Unter 54 Kindern mit Hinweisen auf ein autistisches Syndrom konnten 2 „autistische“ Untergruppen und eine „nichtautistische“ Untergruppe gebildet werden, wenn die Werte von 24 Verhaltenskriterien zugrunde gelegt wurden. Die 35 „autistischen“ Fälle ergeben eine Prävalenz-Rate von 4,5 auf 10 000. Die Daten von 32 dieser Fälle werden näher analysiert. Jungen waren häufiger betroffen als Mädchen, und zwar in einem Verhältnis von 2,6∶1. Die Beziehung zwischen Frühentwicklung, Beginn des Syndroms und I.Q. wird diskutiert, vor allem im Blick auf das mittlere Alter der Population zur Zeit der Untersuchung: 9 Jahre, 9 Monate. Die Zahlenwerte für autistische Kinder werden mit solchen anderer Gruppen geschädigter Kinder (etwa Blindheit) verglichen. Eine Unterteilung je nach Vorhandensein eines Entwicklungsrückstandes erscheint für einen fruchtbaren Vergleich der berichteten Gruppen und für prognostische Schätzungen notwendig.

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Lotter, V. Epidemiology of autistic conditions in young children. Soc Psychiatry 1, 124–135 (1966). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00584048

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Keywords

  • Blindness
  • Autistic Child
  • Parmi
  • Behaviour Questionnaire
  • Autistic Behaviour