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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 213979, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/213979
Research Article

Coexisting Disorders and Problems in Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

1Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Kungsgatan 12, 411 19 Gothenburg, Sweden
2Department of Pediatrics, Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Liljeholmen, Liljeholmstorget 7, 117 94 Stockholm, Sweden
3Department of Speech and Language Pathology, Karolinska University Hospital, 171 64 Stockholm, Sweden
4CLINTEC, Division of Speech and Language Pathology, Karolinska Institute, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
5Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Frescati Hagväg 8, 114 19 Stockholm, Sweden
6Skaraborgs Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Unit of Developmental Disorders, 542 24 Mariestad, Sweden

Received 18 February 2013; Accepted 31 March 2013

Academic Editors: W. M. Bahk and L. Tait

Copyright © 2013 Lotta Höglund Carlsson 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.

Abstract

Objectives. To analyze cooccurring disorders and problems in a representative group of 198 preschool children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who had had interventions at a specialized habilitation center. Methods. Parents and children were seen by a research team. Data were based on parental interviews, pediatric assessments, and tests of the child. Information on autistic symptoms, general cognitive function, speech and language, motor function, epilepsy, vision, hearing, activity level, behavior, and sleep was collected. Results. Three ASD categories were used: (1) autistic disorder (AD), (2) autistic-like condition (ALC) or Asperger syndrome, and (3) one group with autistic symptoms/traits but not entirely all its criteria met for ASD. Children with autism had a mean of 3.2 coexisting disorders or problems, the ALC/Asperger group had a mean of 1.6, and children with autistic traits had a mean of 1.6. The most common disorder/problems in the total group pertained to language problems (78%), intellectual disability (ID) (49%), below average motor function (37%), and severe hyperactivity/ADHD (33%). Conclusions. The results accord with the concept of early symptomatic syndromes eliciting neurodevelopmental clinical examination (ESSENCE), and highlight the need of considering ASD in a broad perspective taking also other cooccurring developmental disorders into account.