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New findings validate the accuracy of autism diagnosis in children with Down syndrome
Date:10/4/2011

e the most commonly used tools for evaluating behavioral problems in individuals with intellectual disabilities and has no relation to the DSM. The 58-item, parent-completed, clinician-interpreted checklist assesses the severity of non-productive behaviors.

"The behavioral diagnosis of autism will probably always be more complicated than a simple blood test," says Dr. Kaufmann. "However, with this study, we're able to use objective analytical methods to support the accurate diagnosis of autism in children with Down syndrome so that they can receive proper treatment and care."

Researchers used the ABC-C scores to confirm or deny initial DSM-based autism diagnoses in 293 patients from the Institute's Down Syndrome Clinic. The researchers were able to accurately distinguish three diagnostic groups:

  • Down syndrome (DS): children with DS, but no significant behavioral problems that would warrant the diagnosis of a coexisting mental health condition
  • DS + ASD: children with DS and autism spectrum disorders
  • DS + Disruptive behavior disorder (DBD): children with DS and DBD, characterized by temper tantrums, physical aggression, excessive argumentativeness, stealing and other forms of defiance or resistance to authority

"The most telling result of our study is that we were not only able to clearly identify patients with Down syndrome and ASD, but also distinguish two other behavioral categories those without major behavioral problems and those with disruptive behavior disorder (DBD), a widely recognized group among individuals with Down syndrome," says Dr. George Capone, study author and Director of the Down Syndrome Clinic at Kennedy Krieger.

Capone initiated the study in 1992 when few biomedical researchers were interested in studying the connection between the two disorders. Remarkably, the parents of patients in Kennedy Krieger's Down Syndrome Clinic joined Capone in his effort by funding the study with
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Contact: Megan Lustig
mlustig@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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