NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Autism would be accompanied by a variety of other mental and behavioral diseases in children, suggests a new study shows the complexity of diagnosis.
“(The study) points out that these children often have multiple disabilities, not just autism,” said Johnny Matson, an expert on autism spectrum disorders and intellectual upheavals of the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, who was not involved in the study.
The team of Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, Children’s Hospital Massachusetts General in Lexington, found that the typical diseases that accompany the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders vary with age of each child.
Learning disorders were more common in younger children, while anxiety, speech problems and seizures affect more elementary students and teens.
In the journal Pediatrics, the team writes that previous studies had shown that some children with autism spectrum disorder fail to qualify diagnoses and are no longer considered autistic.
In the study, this happened with one third of children with an initial diagnosis. It is debated whether this is due to an error at first diagnosis or brain or behavioral changes of patients.
Autism spectrum disorders include autism, Asperger syndrome and “pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified” or PDD-SOE.
The number of children diagnosed with these disorders has grown in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention (CDC for its acronym in English), one of every 100 American children has an autism spectrum disorder.
It is expected that the next revision of the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders delimit the definition of autism and associated disorders, reducing the number of children and adults who meet the diagnostic requirements.
The new study included data from a telephone survey conducted in 2007 and 2008 to 92,000 parents of children under 17 years of United States.
Parents were asked whether a doctor had ever told your child had an autistic spectrum disorder, if your child was present or suffered other mental and behavioral problems.
In total, 1,366 parents said their son had or had an autistic spectrum disorder. Of that group, 453 no longer met the diagnostic criteria.
Young children with autism often still considered to have more learning problems or developmental delay than children who had “lost” the diagnosis.
Children of school age, however, had more anxiety disorders, whereas adolescents had higher rates of language impairments or mild seizures and epilepsy.
In a study by Dr. Susan Levy, “children with more concurrent diagnoses of autism were diagnosed later in life” when clinical criteria are defined and stable, explained the author, a researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
He also commented that “children with more concurrent diagnoses were more problems, delaying his recovery.” And this difficult to treat.
Zimmerman said he recognized early signs of autism and initiating treatment would increase the possibility of real and lasting improvement.
“Early treatment is essential and there is reason to believe that children can improve.’re Very optimistic,” he said.