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Younger Siblings of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Score Low

o control siblings," the authors write. The pattern of scores on tests suggested that a substantial minority of the siblings of autistic children had low scores, as opposed to a few extremely low performers who may have deceptively brought down the average scores. In addition, "the consistency of results obtained across different methods highlights the robustness of these findings."

The weaker performance of siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder may represent early signs of the broader autism phenotype, and highlights the importance of closely monitoring these at-risk children for developmental problems, the authors note. "This research has the potential to increase our knowledge about the early development of autism and to develop tailored intervention and prevention strategies for promoting optimal outcomes in this group of at-risk children," they conclude.

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