Autistic-spectrum disorders in Down syndrome: further delineation and distinction from other behavioral abnormalities.

TitleAutistic-spectrum disorders in Down syndrome: further delineation and distinction from other behavioral abnormalities.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsCarter JC, Capone GT, Gray RM, Cox CS, Kaufmann WE
JournalAmerican journal of medical genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric genetics : the official publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics
Date Published2007 Jan 5

The present study extends our previous work characterizing the behavioral features of autistic-spectrum disorder (ASD) in Down syndrome (DS) using the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) and Autism Behavior Checklist (AutBehav). We examined which specific behaviors distinguished the behavioral phenotype of DS + ASD from other aberrant behavior disorders in DS, by determining the relative contribution of ABC and AutBehav subscales and items to the diagnosis of ASD. A total of 127 subjects (aged 2-24 years; mean age: 8.4 years; approximately 70% male), comprising: a cohort of 64 children and adolescents with DS and co-morbid ASD (DS + ASD), 19 with DS and stereotypic movement disorder (DS + SMD), 18 with DS and disruptive behaviors (DS + DB), and 26 with DS and no co-morbid behavior disorders (DS + none) were examined using the aforementioned measures of aberrant behavior. We found that subjects with DS + ASD showed the most severe aberrant behavior, especially stereotypy compared to DS + none and lethargy/social withdrawal and relating problems compared to DS + SMD. Specifically, relatively simple stereotypic behavior differentiated DS + ASD from DS + DB, whereas odd/bizarre stereotypic and anxious behavior characterized DS + ASD relative to DS + SMD and DS + none. Additionally, in a subset of subjects with DS + ASD and anxiety, social withdrawal was particularly pronounced. Overall, our findings indicate that a diagnosis of DS + ASD represents a distinctive set of aberrant behaviors marked by characteristic odd/bizarre stereotypic behavior, anxiety, and social withdrawal.

Alternate JournalAm. J. Med. Genet. B Neuropsychiatr. Genet.