[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 22-Mar-2010
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Contact: Bethany Carland-Adams
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Wiley-Blackwell

Children with autistic traits remain undiagnosed

Lack of diagnosis and integrative care for autistic children

Exeter, UK—March 22, 2010— There has been a major increase in the incidence of autism over the last twenty years. While people have differing opinions as to why this is (environment, vaccines, mother's age, better diagnostic practice, more awareness etc.) there are still many children who have autistic traits that are never diagnosed clinically. Therefore, they do not receive the support they need through educational or health services.

In recent studies these undiagnosed children have been included in estimates of how many children have autism spectrum disorder, or an ASD (which includes both autism and Asperger's syndrome). Such studies have estimated that one in every hundred children has an ASD.

A study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that a large number of undiagnosed children displayed autistic traits: repetitive behaviors, impairments in social interaction, and difficulties with communication. These traits were at levels comparable to the traits displayed by children who held a clinical diagnosis (all diagnosed between years one and twelve). However, the undiagnosed children were not deemed eligible for extra support at school or by specialized health services.

The lead researcher of the study, Ginny Russell, asks, "ASD diagnosis currently holds the key to unlocking intervention from school systems and health programs. Perhaps these resources should be extended and available for children who show autistic impairments but remain undiagnosed" Russell points out that the study also shows that there is a gender bias in diagnosing children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders - boys are more likely to receive a diagnosis than girls, even when they display equally severe symptoms.

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This study is published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Media wishing toreceive a PDF of this article may contact scholarlynews@wiley.com.

To view the abstract for this article, please visit http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123327359/abstract.

Article: "Identification of children with the same level of impairment as children on the autistic spectrum, and analysis of their service use." Ginny Russell, et. al. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (JCPP); Published Online: March 22, 2010 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02233.x).

Ginny Russell is a researcher at Egenis, the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society, a research centre at the University of Exeter funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to study the meaning and social implications of developments in genomic science: www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/egenis. She can be reached for questions at g.russell@ex.ac.uk.

About the Journal: The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (JCPP) is internationally recognised to be the leading journal covering both child and adolescent psychology and psychiatry. Articles published include experimental and developmental studies, especially those relating to developmental psychopathology and the developmental disorders. An important function of JCPP is to bring together empirical research, clinical studies and reviews of high quality arising from different points of view. JCPP also features a yearly special issue.

About The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health: The Association is a learned Society managed by an elected Board within a Constitution accepted by the membership. The Objects of the Association are the scientific study of all matters concerning the mental health and development of children through the medium of meetings, academic initiatives and publications - The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and the ACAMH Occasional Papers series - in which scientific matters can be discussed, and clinical findings, research projects and results can be published. The Association is multi-disciplinary in nature, and exists to further all aspects of child and adolescent mental health. Membership of the Association does not confer professional status on any individual. For further information, please visit www.acamh.org.uk.

About Wiley-Blackwell: Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or www.interscience.wiley.com.



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