One-year follow-up diagnostic stability of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in a clinical sample of children and toddlers

Michele Roccella, Caterina Impallomeni, Rosamaria Siracusano, Francesca Cucinotta, Roberta Maggio, Ausilia Alquino, Roberta De Raco, Eva Germanò, Massimo Ingrassia, Antonella Gagliano, Loredana Benedetto

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review


Some studies show that the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder could be considered reliable and stable in children aged 18 to 24 months. Nevertheless, the diagnostic stability of early ASD diagnosis has not yet been fully demonstrated. This observational study examines the one-year diagnostic stability of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in a clinical sample of 147 children diagnosed between 18 and 48 months of age. The ADOS-2 scores were used in order to stratify children in three levels of symptom severity: Autism (AD; comparison score 5–7), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD; comparison score 3–4), and Sub-Threshold Symptoms; (STS; comparison score 1–2). Results: Overall, the largest part of children and toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder between 18 and 48 months continued to show autistic symptoms at one-year follow-up evaluation. Neverthe-less, a significant percentage of children with higher ADOS severity scores exhibited a reduction of symptom severity and, therefore, moved towards a milder severity class one year later. Conversely, the number of subjects of the STS group meaningfully increased. Therefore, at one-year follow-up a statistically significant (χ2 (2) = 181.46, p < 0.0001) percentage of subjects (25.2% of the total) who had received a categorical diagnosis of Autistic Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder in baseline no longer met the criteria for a categorical diagnosis. Furthermore, children who no longer met the criteria for autism spectrum disorder continue to show delays in one or more neurodevelopmental areas, possibly related to the emergence of other neurodevelopmental/neuropsychiatric disorders. Overall, the comprehensive results of the study account for a high sensibility but a moderate stability of ASD early diagnosis.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-15
Numero di pagine15
RivistaBrain Sciences
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2021

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