This study investigated the results from the national, routine 18-month developmental surveillance at Child Healthcare Centres (CHCs) on children later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Child Healthcare Centre records of 175 children, diagnosed with ASD before 4.5 years in Stockholm County, Sweden, were reviewed regarding the results of the eight-item neurodevelopmental surveillance. Results were contrasted with normative data from the general child population in Stockholm County.
More than one-third of the total ASD group, including half of the group with ASD and intellectual disability (ID), did not pass the required number of items, compared to one in 50 in the general child population. Of those with ASD and ID who had passed, more than one-third experienced developmental regression after 18 months of age. If the CHC surveillance had considered reported regulatory problems - crying, feeding and sleeping - then another 10% of the children with ASD and ID could have been identified during this surveillance.
The existing CHC surveillance traced half of the group of children who were later diagnosed with ASD combined with intellectual disability. Adding an item on regulatory problems to the 18-month surveillance would have increased this number by another 10%.
Early intervention has been reported to improve outcome in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Several studies in the field have been randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The aim of this study was to assess ASD outcome in a large naturalistic study. Two hundred and eight children, aged 20-54 months, with a clinical diagnosis of ASD were given intervention and monitored prospectively in a naturalistic fashion over a period of 2 years. The toddlers were considered representative of all but the most severely multiple disabled preschool children with ASD in Stockholm county. They fell into three cognitive subgroups: one with learning disability, one with developmental delay, and one with normal intellectual functioning. Data on intervention type and intensity were gathered prospectively in a systematic fashion. Intervention was classified into intensive applied behaviour analysis (ABA) and non-intensive, targeted interventions, also based on ABA principles. Children were comprehensively assessed by a research team before the onset of intervention, and then, again, 2 years later. Change in Vineland adaptive behaviour scales composite scores from intake (T1) to leaving the study (T2) was set as the primary outcome variable. The research team remained blind to the type and intensity of interventions provided. One hundred and ninety-eight (95%) of the original samples stayed in the study throughout the whole 2-year period and 192 children had a complete Vineland composite score results both at T1 and T2. Vineland composite scores increased over the 2-year period. This increase was accounted for by the subgroup with normal cognitive functioning. There was no significant difference between the intensive and non-intensive groups. Individual variation was considerable, but no child in the study was "problem-free" at follow-up. Our data do not support that children with ASD generally benefit more from the most intensive ABA intervention programs than from less intensive interventions or targeted interventions based on ABA.
This work was a follow-up study (birth years 1999-2003) of the prevalence of autism in children of Somali background living in the county of Stockholm, Sweden. In a previous study (birth years 1988-98), the prevalence of autism associated with learning disability* was found to be three to four times higher among Somali children compared with other ethnicities in Stockholm. We examined all records of children of Somali background, born from 1999 to 2003, registered at the centre for schoolchildren with autism and learning disability. The census day was 31 December 2009. The prevalence of autism and PDDNOS (with learning disability) was 0.98% (18/1836) in the Somali group and 0.21% (232/111555) in the group of children of non-Somali origin (p
AIM: To analyse serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in mothers of Somali origin and those of Swedish origin who have children with and without autism as there is a growing evidence that low vitamin D impacts adversely on brain development. METHOD: Four groups of mothers were invited to participate; 20 with Somali origin with at least one child with autism, 20 with Somali origin without a child with autism, 20 of Swedish origin with at least one child with autism and 20 with Swedish origin without a child with autism. Two blood samples were collected from each individual; during autumn and spring. RESULTS: Between 12 and 17 mothers from the different groups accepted to participate, both groups of mothers of Somali origin had significantly lower values of 25-hydroxyvitamin D compared with Swedish mothers. The difference of 25-hydroxyvitamin D between mothers of Somali origin with and without a child with autism was not significant. CONCLUSION: Our findings of low vitamin D levels in Somali women entail considerable consequences in a public health perspective. The observed tendency, i.e. the lowest values in mothers of Somali origin with a child with autism was in the predicted direction, supporting the need for further research of vitamin D levels in larger samples of Somali mothers of children with and without autism.