Children with autistic traits remain undiagnosed

March 22, 2010

There has been a major increase in the incidence of autism over the last twenty years. While people have differing opinions as to why this is (environment, vaccines, mother's age, better diagnostic practice, more awareness etc.) there are still many children who have autistic traits that are never diagnosed clinically. Therefore, they do not receive the support they need through educational or health services.

In recent studies these undiagnosed have been included in estimates of how many children have , or an ASD (which includes both autism and Asperger's syndrome). Such studies have estimated that one in every hundred children has an ASD.

A study published in a recent issue of the found that a large number of undiagnosed children displayed autistic traits: repetitive behaviors, impairments in , and difficulties with communication. These traits were at levels comparable to the traits displayed by children who held a clinical diagnosis (all diagnosed between years one and twelve). However, the undiagnosed children were not deemed eligible for extra support at school or by specialized health services.

The lead researcher of the study, Ginny Russell, asks, "ASD diagnosis currently holds the key to unlocking intervention from school systems and health programs. Perhaps these resources should be extended and available for children who show autistic impairments but remain undiagnosed" Russell points out that the study also shows that there is a gender bias in diagnosing children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders - boys are more likely to receive a diagnosis than girls, even when they display equally severe symptoms.

More information: "Identification of children with the same level of impairment as children on the autistic spectrum, and analysis of their service use." Ginny Russell, et. al. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (JCPP); Published Online: March 22, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02233.x

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Game study not playing around with PTSD relief

May 26, 2017

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients wrestling with one of its main symptoms may find long-term relief beyond medication thanks to the work of a Western researcher.

Bouldering envisioned as new treatment for depression

May 25, 2017

A growing body of research suggests that bouldering, a form of rock climbing, can help build muscle and endurance while reducing stress—and a new study co-led by a University of Arizona doctoral student of psychology suggests ...

Study documents range of challenging meditation experiences

May 24, 2017

Meditation is increasingly being marketed as a treatment for conditions such as pain, depression, stress and addiction, and while many people achieve therapeutic goals, other meditators encounter a much broader range of experiences—sometimes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.