Relationship between cognitive ability and predictors for age at the time of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis

Ronit Saban-Bezalel, Ditza A. Zachor, Esther Ben-Itzchak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The rising prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased awareness of the need for early diagnosis and intervention; however, not all children are diagnosed at preschool age. In the literature, findings regarding factors that may play a role in later diagnosis are inconsistent. Presence or absence of intellectual disability is a possible factor. This study aimed to identify factors associated with later diagnosis of ASD among children grouped according to low and high cognitive levels. Data of children who were previously diagnosed with ASD between 2002 and 2016 at a national autism center were analyzed. Better cognitive ability, having more siblings, and previous diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were predictors of later diagnosis among the entire cohort. Children exhibiting lower cognitive levels (LC-ASD; DQ/IQ < 70; n = 209) were diagnosed much earlier. Among this group, later ASD diagnosis was predicted by poorer adaptive behavior, more severe restricted and repetitive behaviors, and previous diagnosis of epilepsy. In the higher cognitive level group (HC-ASD; DQ/IQ ≥ 70; n = 321), familial variables and more severe social impairments were predictors of later ASD diagnosis. Clinicians should be aware of variables that may affect ASD diagnostic age among children with varying cognitive abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114696
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume315
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

Keywords

  • Age of diagnosis
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Child characteristics
  • Familial variables

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