Note: Most Internet Explorer 8 users encounter issues playing the presentation videos. Please update your browser or use a different one if available.

Co-Occurring Symptoms in a Mixed Clinical Sample of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Saturday, 4 May 2013: 09:00-13:00
Banquet Hall (Kursaal Centre)
N. Bilenberg1 and M. Paus2, (1)Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Southern Denmark, Odense C, Denmark, (2)Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Background:  Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) often co-occur with other psychiatric, neurologic, or medical diagnoses. Sub-syndromal problems and even psychotic symptoms are often neglected although these may have almost equally significant impact on the identification, treatment needs, functional status, and progress of children with ASD.

Objectives:  This study examined co-occurring problems as rated by parents on the CBCL.

Methods:  CBCL data on clinically referred and assessed 6-16-years-old children with ASD (N=110) were compared with equivalent data from age and gender matched typically developed reference children (N=220).

Results:  Mean age of the ASD sample was 11.0 (SD 2.6) and 90 % were males. Mean CBCL total problem score was 61.1 in the ASD sample and 16.8 (SD=14.0) in the reference sample. The most prevalent comorbid problem was rage tantrums in 75 % of cases. Convulsions were 15.2 and obsessions 5.6 times more prevalent in ASD vs. controls. In the ADS group 9.4% were reported as self injurious vs. only 0.9% in the control sample. More results and comparisons will be presented at the conference. Also scores on CBCL subscales with special focus on thought problems and anxiety will be presented and discussed.

Conclusions:  These data highlight the need for clinicians to keep in mind the high prevalence of co-occurring problems in combination with an ASD diagnosis. Other symptoms or disorders may mask the core symptoms of ASD and lead to delayed diagnosis. Comorbidity may even be the main focus in tailoring the most effective treatment program.

CBCL is an excellent screening tool in that aspect, before or as an alternative to more comprehensive psychopathological assessment of comorbidity.

| More