Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1104–1111 | Cite as

Head Circumference as an Early Predictor of Autism Symptoms in Younger Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Lauren M. Elder
  • Geraldine Dawson
  • Karen Toth
  • Deborah Fein
  • Jeff Munson
Original Paper

Abstract

Siblings of children with autism have an increased risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). As children with autism often exhibit an atypical trajectory of head circumference (HC) growth, HC may be an indicator of vulnerability to autism. This study investigated whether infant siblings of children with ASD (n = 77) with an atypical trajectory of HC growth were more likely than those without an atypical HC trajectory to develop autism symptoms. Results showed that infants who had larger HC at 12 months, and whose HC growth rate decelerated more rapidly between 12 and 24 months were more likely to exhibit autism symptoms than infants with more typical HC trajectories. Among infant siblings of children with autism, atypical HC growth might alert pediatricians to provide screening and/or referral for further evaluation.

Keywords

Autism Head circumference Infant siblings 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren M. Elder
    • 1
  • Geraldine Dawson
    • 1
    • 4
  • Karen Toth
    • 2
  • Deborah Fein
    • 3
  • Jeff Munson
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Autism CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Children’s HospitalSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry, Autism CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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