Reports suggest that in young children with developmental problems and children with autism, parents are often primarily concerned about language and cognitive development and behaviour problems.
To determine if early markers of cognitive, social, communication, play ability, and behavioural adjustment in young children with autism and developmental delay predict subsequent developmental and behavioural outcome.
One-hundred and sixty-nine children with developmental delay were followed-up 2 years after their initial assessment and diagnosis. At initial assessment the children were aged 18-48 months, and approximately two-thirds received a diagnosis of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Information on symptomatology, behaviour problems, developmental level, expressive and receptive language ability, adaptive behaviour, parent mental health, stress and family functioning was collected at both time points.
Data will be presented on the stability of diagnosis in young children with developmental delay and on their cognitive and language development at follow-up. Associations between early developmental level, diagnosis, symptomatology and behaviour problems over time, and outcome will be explored along with associations with early gesture, play, and imitation skills.
Identification of skills potentially associated with better developmental outcomes for preschool children, may result in the development of targeted intervention programmes for infants.