Follow-Up of Two-Year-Olds Referred for Possible Autism


Requests for reprints to: Dr Catherine Lord, Department of Psychiatry, MC 3077, 5841 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago, IL 60637, U.S.A.


Abstract Thirty, 2-year-old children referred for possible autism were evaluated using a parent interview, a rating scale and psychometric tests and reassessed one year later. Clinical diagnosis was relatively stable across time; diagnosis using the formal measures changed significantly, particularly for younger and more developmentally delayed children. Several patterns contributed to the increasing differentiation of children with autism from age 2 to 3, including the development of clearly recognizable, repetitive behaviors in the autistic children and significant improvements in basic social skills in the children judged not to be autistic.