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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2018, Article ID 8316212, 9 pages
Research Article

Risk for ASD in Preterm Infants: A Three-Year Follow-Up Study

1School of Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, 91905, Israel
2Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, 91905, Israel
3Department of Neonatology, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, 91120, Israel
4Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, 91120, Israel

Correspondence should be addressed to Ayelet Harel-Gadassi; moc.liamg@0lerahteleya

Received 28 July 2018; Revised 8 October 2018; Accepted 29 October 2018; Published 11 November 2018

Academic Editor: Bennett L. Leventhal

Copyright © 2018 Ayelet Harel-Gadassi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The aim of this study was to examine the long-term risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in individuals who are born preterm and full-term using both observational instruments and parental reports. Neonatal risk factors and developmental characteristics associated with ASD risk were also examined. Method. Participants included 110 preterm children (born at a gestational age of ≤ 34 weeks) and 39 full-term children assessed at ages 18, 24, and 36 months. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, the Social Communication Questionnaire, and the Mullen Scales of Early Learning were administered. Results and Conclusions. The long-term risk for ASD was higher when parental reports were employed compared to observational instruments. At 18 and 24 months, a higher long-term risk for ASD was found for preterm children compared to full-term children. At 36 months, only one preterm child and one full-term child met the cutoff for ASD based on the ADOS, yet clinical judgment and parental reports supported an ASD diagnosis for the preterm child only. Earlier gestational age and lower general developmental abilities were associated with elevated ASD risk among preterm children.