Data will be presented from a longitudinal study of approximately 100 toddlers with ASD and their parents. Toddlers were enrolled when they were between 18- to 33-months of age and seen at two annual follow-up visits. All children met criteria for ASD based on the Autism Diagnostic Interview, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the clinical impression of an experienced clinician. Parents completed the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA; Carter & Briggs-Gowan, 2006), and the Family Life Impairment scale. The ITSEA is a 166-item parent report questionnaire that measures social-emotional/behavioral problems and competencies in 1- to 3-year olds. The ITSEA assesses four broad domains of behavior (Internalizing, Externalizing, Dysregulation, and Competencies). Items are rated on a 3-point scale from 0=Not true/Rarely to 2=Very True/Often. The Family Life Impairment Scale (FLIS; Briggs-Gowan et al, 1997) is a parent-report scale that assesses the extent to which the parent perceives that their child’s behavior, personality, or special needs limit the child’s participation in typical family activities or negatively affect the parent.
Specific questions that will be addressed in this presentation include: (1) Are social-emotional and problem behaviors reported by mothers and fathers in the toddler and preschool period stable among children with ASDs? (2) Are social-emotional and problem behaviors correlated with core autism symptoms in this young age group? and (3) Controlling for core autism symptoms and cognitive functioning, do social-emotional and behavior problems contribute uniquely to family impairment?
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