Autism spectrum disorders [ASD] are characterized by a wide range of neuropsychiatric comorbid disorders which change during early development. Coordinated collaboration between therapists from various disciplines and integrating measurements, may Lead to a comprehensive diagnosis of ASD. A diagnostic kindergarten set-up for children with a preliminary diagnosis of ASD or communication disorder can facilitate a multidisciplinary diagnosis, as an integral part of the child and parental intervention process. To examine the changes in the diagnosis of children after one year of observation and treatment in a special education set-up, including aspects such as common neuropsychiatric comorbidity, differential diagnosis and subsequent placement recommendations. Changes in the frequencies of ASD diagnoses were calculated prior to and following participation in the kindergarten for 76 children, who studied in the diagnostic kindergarten for ASD at the Weinberg Child Development Center during the last decade. Frequencies of neuropsychiatric comorbid disorders and differential diagnosis were calculated. It was found that: half (44.7%) of the preliminary diagnoses changed after a year of treatment; 14.2% of the children admitted with other developmental diagnoses, were subsequently diagnosed with ASD and in the cases of 25% of the children with ASD, their diagnosis was removed. Neuropsychiatric comorbid disorders appeared in 66% of cases. The most common differential diagnosis was Language disability, which appeared in 76% of the cases. This study reinforces the importance of a thorough assessment process conducted by a multidisciplinary team during and after treatment. A quarter of the children diagnosed with ASD in early childhood may have a different diagnosis later, usually milder, probably as a consequence of developmental changes combined with intensive treatment.
|Published - Mar 2012