Developmental Functioning of Toddlers At-Risk for Autism With and Without Down Syndrome

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PURPOSE: Due to the difficulties in differentiating between impairments associated with intellectual disability and ASD symptomology, DS often leads to delayed or misdiagnoses of ASD. METHOD: An ANOVA was run to investigate the effects of ASD risk and DS on overall developmental functioning across three groups: ASD+, DS-, and DS+ (n = 138). A MANOVA was run to investigate the differences of group on five developmental subdomains. RESULTS: The results revealed significant group differences in the overall developmental functioning and each developmental subdomain. Children in the DS+ group demonstrated significantly lower overall developmental functioning, as well as lower adaptive, cognitive, motor, and communication skills compared to their peers; however, children in the DS- group demonstrated significantly better social skills compared to their peers in the ASD+ group. DISCUSSION: These findings support the need for early screening and identification of ASD among those with DS.

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Developmental neurorehabilitation

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