Objectives: The present study aimed to assess the psychiatric comorbidity in a sample of clinically referred children and adolescents with High Functioning Autism.
Methods: Participants were 30 children and adolescents (29 male, 1 female), aged between 6–15 (10y 2m ± 2y 2m) years old, who met DSM-IV criteria for Autistic Disorder, and had a Performance IQ over 70 on WISC-R. Psychiatric comorbidity was assessed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Age Children - Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS - PL).
Results: 90% (n=27) of the children had at least one comorbid psychiatric disorder, while 76.6% (n=23) had two or more. Of all the cases, 76.6% (n=23) suffered at least from one subtype of Anxiety Disorder, and 63% (n=19) of the children received the additional diagnosis of Disruptive Behavior Disorders. The most frequent psychiatric diagnoses were Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (60 %), Specific Phobia (SP) (53, 3 %), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (% 30), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (20 %).
Conclusions: The results of the present study show the presence of very high rate of psychiatric disorders in this group. The detection and treatment of these disorders is critical to achieve a good outcome in this group.