The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders will be publishing research on when and how autism symptoms appear and its effects on childhood development. Data was collected from 2720 parents via questionnaires. Children were divided into three groups:
1. Regression of skills - 44% of the children exhibited a regression of social, cognitive or communication skills before 36 months of age
2. No loss or no plateau - 39% of children exhibited the early warning signs of autism but no loss of skills
3. Plateau - 17% of children displayed mild developmental delays followed by a plateau of skill development.
The results of the study indicated that children who experience a regression of skills displayed a significant increase in severity of autism symptoms i.e. lack of conversational speech and increased educational supports. For the children in the plateau group, skills ceased to develop at about 24 months of age. These children were also at risk for receiving a diagnoses of autism and requiring educational supports. Children who displayed no loss or no plateau were at the least risk of poorer outcomes.
Reference: Kennedy Krieger Institute (2010, April 20). New insights into the implications of autism onset patterns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/04/100420114231.htm