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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2021

Francois A.M. Jean, Ali Jouni, Manuel P. Bouvard, Guillaume Camelot, Anita Beggiato, Isabelle Scheid, Alexandru Gaman, Celine Bouquet, Myryam Ly-Le Moal, Josselin Houenou, Richard Delorme, Marion Leboyer and Anouck Amestoy

This study aims to explore the overlap between symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability and aggressiveness in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to measure specific and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the overlap between symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability and aggressiveness in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to measure specific and idiosyncratic emotional responses.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 42 high functioning adolescents and adults, between 12 and 39 years old, meeting the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders – 5 criteria for ASD were selected from the InFoR Autism cohort. Data were analyzed in an exploratory way using Hill and Smith and K-medoids cluster analysis.

Findings

The authors found an aggregation of anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviors and irritability. Cluster analysis was maximized for two groups with 17 and 25 participants, respectively. The first group was characterized by high levels of symptoms of irritability, aggressiveness, hyperactivity and intermediate levels of anxiety and depression. In the first group, participants had significantly higher levels of autistic symptoms considering the social responsiveness scale and repetitive behavior scale-revised scales (relatives’ reports) suggesting that a particular group of subjects with a high level of ASD specific symptoms may express anxiety and depression in a specific way based on externalizing behaviors in addition to the common mood and anxiety symptoms.

Research limitations/implications

Improved understanding of the aggregation of externalized symptoms with symptoms of anxiety and mood disorders in ASD should lead to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms related to emotion dysregulation in ASD.

Practical implications

Improved knowledge of the symptoms could lead to enhanced detection of psychiatric comorbidities in ASD.

Originality/value

The study was based on a transdiagnostic approach of psychiatric symptoms in individuals with ASD. Aggregation and clustering analysis was used to explore naive patterns of these psychiatric symptoms.

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

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Article
Publication date: 10 September 2021

María Álvarez-Couto, Domingo García-Villamisar, Gema P. Sáez-Suanes and María d'Orey Roquete

Considering the high comorbidity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with externalizing disorders and that ASD is considered as a continuum, which implies the identification…

Abstract

Purpose

Considering the high comorbidity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with externalizing disorders and that ASD is considered as a continuum, which implies the identification of it features in the whole population, the purpose of this paper is to know the characteristics of the association of externalizing symptoms in the population with ASD traits.

Design/methodology/approach

One hundred and seventeen postsecondary students participated in the study, providing responses to a battery of self-reported tests.

Findings

The existence of a significant association between ASD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (0.519; p < 0.01) was proved. Regression analyses showed that problems in executive functioning, working memory deficits and difficulties in the use of emotion regulation strategies predicted the presence of ADHD traits (F = 36.757, R2 = 62.3%, p < 0. 01) and impulsivity behavior (F = 18.249, R2 = 45.1%, p < 0.01).

Research limitations/implications

Externalizing symptomatology in people with higher ASD traits is extended to the general population. Future research should study other problematic behaviors, such as aggression or self-harm, to continue generating appropriate interventions.

Originality/value

The results reported reinforce the study of ASD as a dimensional disorder, in line with the latest advances in the classification of psychopathology. Considering which variables are behind the problematic behaviors allows interventions to be focused on these factors, contributing to their reduction and to the improvement of professional practices.

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2021

Antonio Koceski and Vladimir Trajkovski

The aim of this study is to determine what changes occur in the health status of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to neurotypical controls.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to determine what changes occur in the health status of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to neurotypical controls.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors performed a comparative analysis of data collected from 72 subjects with ASD and 75 neurotypical controls aged 3–24 years using the Rochester Health Status Survey IV (RHSS-IV). A structured individual interview was conducted to compare the health status of subjects in Macedonia.

Findings

A majority of people with ASD take vitamins, supplements and use recommended drug therapies compared to the neurotypical population and experience a larger number of side effects (p = 0.000). Compared to people with neurotypical development, children with ASD have a higher prevalence of oral ulcers (31.9% vs 17.3%; p = 0.039), changes in neurological health status – epilepsy (19.4% vs 2.7%; p = 0.001) and ADD/ADHD (only persons with ASD-19.4%; p = 0.000); respiratory diseases – angina (30.5% vs 8%; p = 0.000), rhinitis and/or sinusitis (40.3% vs 17.3%; p = 0.02); changes in the gastrointestinal system – constipation (31.9% vs 10.6%; p = 0.02), intestinal inflammation (19.4% vs 8%; p = 0.043), permeable intestines (only persons with ASD – 13.9%; p = 0.000) and the presence of the fungus Candida albicans (19.4% vs 4%; p = 0.043); psychiatric disorders – sleep problems (only in people with ASD – 18%; p = 0.000) and tics (6.9% vs 2.6%; p = 0.25) and skin diseases – eczema/allergic skin rash (36.1% vs 18.7%; p = 0.02).

Originality/value

Many children with ASD have health problems. These findings support and complement the professional literature on their mutual causality.

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 June 2021

Jane Roitsch, Robert L. Moore and Annemarie L. Horn

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the abrupt transition from attending school face-to-face to participating in online learning in response to the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the abrupt transition from attending school face-to-face to participating in online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as reported by a parent of a student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Design/methodology/approach

A phone interview was conducted with the parent of a child with ASD. The semi-structured interview focused on how the child’s family was impacted when classes shifted to virtual from face-to-face learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings

A total of four themes emerged from the interview. Three of these included adjustments to changes in routines and roles, instruction, and social interactions. A final theme involved the benefits and challenges that emerged following the transition to online learning for students with ASD. While we are in an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 global pandemic presenting understandable challenges, opportunities for and examples of effective virtual learning environments for students with ASD were reported in the parent interview and supported by the literature.

Practical implications

This research provides insight regarding the impact of COVID-19 and highlights elements that should be considered involving technology for students with ASD. Increased awareness regarding the benefits and contraindications of technology while teaching students with ASD can minimize the adverse effects and enhance the positive impact of technology in students with ASD.

Originality/value

This paper shares the experiences of one parent of a child with ASD and their experiences with technology and learning during COVID-19.

Details

Journal of Enabling Technologies, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6263

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2021

Michelle Heyman, Megan Ledoux Galligan, Giselle Berenice Salinas, Elizabeth Baker, Jan Blacher and Katherine Stavropoulos

Professionals working with community populations are often presented with complicated cases where it is difficult to determine which diagnosis or diagnoses are…

Abstract

Purpose

Professionals working with community populations are often presented with complicated cases where it is difficult to determine which diagnosis or diagnoses are appropriate. Differentiating among neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and intellectual disability can be a complex process, especially, as these disorders have some overlapping symptoms and often co-occur in young children. This series of case studies aims to present commonly overlapping symptoms in children who present to clinics with developmental concerns.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents three case studies that were completed at a free community ASD screening clinic in Southern California.

Findings

The case studies have common presenting behaviors and symptoms (e.g. social communication difficulties) that often co-occur across diagnoses; explanations for the final diagnoses are given in each case.

Research limitations/implications

Conclusions from these three cases cannot generalize to all children being seen in clinics for neurodevelopmental concerns.

Practical implications

This series of case studies highlights commonly overlapping symptoms in children who present for differential diagnosis with social and/or behavioral concerns. Implications for educational placement and intervention are discussed.

Social implications

These cases highlight the challenges involved in the differential and dual diagnostic process for young children with developmental concerns. Diagnostic considerations can affect later educational placement and opportunities for socialization.

Originality/value

This series of case studies provide practical information for clinicians about how to effectively differentiate between commonly occurring neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly given recent changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5).

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2021

Farahnaz Amini, Kok Wah Yee, Siew Chin Soh, Abdulateef Alhadeethi, Roya Amini and Edmond Siah Chye Ng

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders with uncertain etiology. Evidence shows that genetic testing can explain about 20% of…

Abstract

Purpose

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders with uncertain etiology. Evidence shows that genetic testing can explain about 20% of cases. This study aims to assess the level of awareness and perception of medical genetic services among Malaysian parents with ASD children.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional survey using an interviewer-administered questionnaire was done among 111 parents of children with ASD from August 2017 to September 2019 in two clinics in Malaysia.

Findings

A majority of children with ASD (80.20%) were male and diagnosed at the age of 3–4 years old (47.80%). When the autistic child was born, most mothers and fathers were aged 26–30 (40.50%) and 31–35 years old (42.30%), respectively. Another child with ASD in nuclear and extended families was reported for 11.70% and 13.50%, respectively. Only 24.30% have seen a professional genetic consultant, and 19.8% have done genetic testing for affected children. The mean score of awareness of genetic services for ASD was 2.48 ± 3.30. Having medical insurance and another child with ASD in the nuclear family was significantly associated with a higher level of awareness (p = 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). Most of the participants have a positive perception of these services.

Originality/value

Regardless of demographic factors, participants have poor awareness of genetic services for ASD, likely because the primary physician did not recommend it upon diagnosis. Increasing health-care providers’ knowledge about the current potential of genetic testing for ASD and educational campaigns for the public are critical components of using available genetic tests to improve ASD management.

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

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Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

Solomon Shatananda, Abimbola Oyedokun, Mahesh Odiyoor, Sujeet Jaydeokar and Saman Shahzad

The purpose of the study is to identify and ascertain if there were any validated tools for diagnosing or screening autism spectrum disorder in adults with ID. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to identify and ascertain if there were any validated tools for diagnosing or screening autism spectrum disorder in adults with ID. The estimated prevalence of intellectual disability (ID) in the general population is about 10.37/1,000 population (Maulik et al., 2011). In total, 1 out of 4 individuals with ID suffers from an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Sappok et al., 2010). Early diagnosis and support for ASD is key to having a good quality of life. The diagnosis of ASD in people with an ID presents its own challenges and it is likely under-identification of ASD amongst adults with ID by about 20% to 30% (Emerson and Baines, 2010).

Design/methodology/approach

Studies were selected based on the following criteria: studies that reported either screening or diagnostic tools for ASD, participants had an ID i.e. a mean IQ of <70, adults i.e. participants were >18 years of age at the time of entry to the study and articles reported either sensitivity, specificity or area under the curve. Relevant studies that were published up to January 2020 were identified from EMBASE, PsychINFO, CINAHL and PubMed. In total, 75 papers were identified of which 15 papers met the criteria.

Findings

The screening or diagnostic tools currently in use is dependant on the degree of ID. A number of the tools had good psychometric properties and utility when used in people with specific degrees of ID or when used in combination with another screening or diagnostic tool. The authors could not identify a diagnostic tool that could be used across all levels of severity of ID unless used in combination. Hence, concluded that there is a need for a diagnostic tool with good psychometric properties for the assessment of ASD in adults with all degree of ID within a reasonable time period without the need for an additional tool to be used in conjunction.

Originality/value

Currently, the “gold standard” for diagnosing ASD is a lengthy and time-consuming process carried out by trained multi-disciplinary team members who assess historical, behavioural and parent/carer report to arrive at a diagnosis. There are a number of tools that have been developed to aid diagnosis. However, it is important to identify the tools that can optimise the procedures and are also time-efficient.

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

Bernard Kissi-Abrokwah and Kwame Kodua-Ntim

The purpose of this paper is to identify knowledge sharing practices used among parents with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify knowledge sharing practices used among parents with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Design/methodology/approach

The study was based on qualitative philosophical foundations, where phenomenological case study design was used to make an in-depth understanding of how parents whose children are diagnosed with ASD shared knowledge among themselves. The population for this research consists of parents whose children have been diagnosed with ASD in Ghana. The study sampled for the study was 12 parents and was selected from 4 autism awareness centres in Ghana to obtain data through the use of focus group discussion and analysed with the aid of thematic analysis.

Findings

The study showed that the dimensions of knowledge sharing practices used by parents with autistic children were after-action review/lesson learnt, brainstorming, mentoring, coaching system, discussion forum, face-to-face meeting, documentation, peer assistance and storytelling. Finally, the study also revealed that knowledge sharing practices used by parents with autistic children help them in their daily engagement.

Social implications

An aspect of the training of social workers should focus on how to assist parents, family and neighbours of children with ASD. The government through the needed ministries and agencies should create a social support system to assist parents and families with children with ASD. Counsellors should avail their services to parents with children with ASD as early as possible to avoid or ameliorate some of the emotional and psychological challenges of these parents.

Originality/value

The paper offers a comprehensive overview on how knowledge sharing transforms the individual to learn and accept autistic condition in Ghana.

Details

Advances in Autism, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3868

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 12 November 2008

Julie A. Deisinger

The heritability of ASDs reportedly exceeds 90% (Halgin & Whitbourne, 2007; Rutter, 2005), indicating that genetic endowment strongly influences the etiology of these…

Abstract

The heritability of ASDs reportedly exceeds 90% (Halgin & Whitbourne, 2007; Rutter, 2005), indicating that genetic endowment strongly influences the etiology of these disorders (Halgin & Whitbourne, 2007). Research to date has suggested chromosomes 2, 7, and 15 as possible sites for genetic abnormalities associated with ASDs (Filipek et al., 1999; Halgin & Whitbourne, 2007; Muhle, Trentacoste, & Rapin, 2004; Yonan et al., 2003). However, the genetics of autism is complex and is not yet fully known (Chuthapisith, Ruangdaraganon, Sombuntham, & Roongpraiwan, 2007; Goldberg et al., 2005; Muhle et al., 2004; Ozonoff, South, & Provencal, 2005; Rutter, 2005; Szatmari, Zwaigenbaum, & Bryson, 2004).

Details

Autism and Developmental Disabilities: Current Practices and Issues
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-357-6

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Book part
Publication date: 30 August 2019

Karen E. Joseph-Kent

This study illuminates the experiences of adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and intellectual disabilities (IDs) and their challenges and successes in…

Abstract

Purpose

This study illuminates the experiences of adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and intellectual disabilities (IDs) and their challenges and successes in receiving quality healthcare services. Individuals with developmental disabilities often experience health issues associated with aging at earlier ages and at higher rates than the general population. This population has a higher incidence of chronic health conditions that require regular medical attention.

The intent of this project was to learn directly from adults and their caregivers how well healthcare providers understand autism, explore their experience with how well their care is coordinated between primary healthcare and other specialty services, and identify factors which could impact access to care and to discover what other barriers which may potentially influence health outcomes for ASD adult.

Method

A qualitative study conducted with semi-structured interviews with 12 adults diagnosed with ASD and/or their guardians/caregivers.

Findings

Some of the adults interviewed experienced negative health outcomes and suboptimal relationships with healthcare providers; others seemed to have positive relationships. Clinical and communications accommodations were necessary to make healthcare provision more comfortable. Barriers to accessing healthcare services existed in many forms.

Implications/Limitations

The healthcare needs of the growing population adults diagnosed with ASD/ID are anticipated to be significant. This challenge is further exacerbated given there are few trained healthcare providers who are prepared or dedicated to serve this population. Continuing to build awareness of the health needs of the ASD/ID adult population is critical.

Originality

This project is highly innovative as it is the first attempt to understand how the adult autism population accesses care and perceives their healthcare interactions. This study serves as a starting point to suggest new opportunities for further research for this growing population.

Details

Underserved and Socially Disadvantaged Groups and Linkages with Health and Health Care Differentials
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-055-9

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