Social communication difficulties and autism spectrum disorder in young children with optic nerve hypoplasia and/or septo-optic dysplasia
Article first published online: 29 MAR 2010
© The Authors. Journal compilation © Mac Keith Press 2010
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Volume 52, Issue 10, pages 917–921, October 2010
How to Cite
PARR, J. R., DALE, N. J., SHAFFER, L. M. and SALT, A. T. (2010), Social communication difficulties and autism spectrum disorder in young children with optic nerve hypoplasia and/or septo-optic dysplasia. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 52: 917–921. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03664.x
- Issue published online: 6 SEP 2010
- Article first published online: 29 MAR 2010
- PUBLICATION DATA Accepted for publication 21st January 2010. Published online 29th March 2010.
Aim The aim of this study was to study systematically social, communication, and repetitive/restrictive (SCRR) behavioural difficulties and clinical autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children with optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH) and/or septo-optic dysplasia (SOD), and to investigate the relationship between visual impairment, SCRR difficulties, ASD, and cognition.
Method A case-note study of clinic records from a specialist developmental vision service was completed. Standardized assessments of vision and development and clinician judgements about SCRR difficulties and clinical ASD were made by a multidisciplinary team.
Results A total of 45 females and 38 males (mean age 3y 5mo; range 10mo–6y 10mo) with ONH or SOD and profound visual impairment (PVI) or severe visual impairment (SVI) were assessed. A total of 58% of children had at least one SCRR difficulty, and 31% had a clinical diagnosis of ASD. The prevalence of ASD was slightly higher in children with SOD than in children with ONH (36% vs 26%) also slightly more frequent in children with PVI than in children with SVI (36% vs 27%). The prevalence of SCRR difficulties was statistically higher in children with PVI than in children with SVI (p=0.003). Clinical ASD was most likely to be diagnosed between 2 years 4 months and 4 years 6 months. Development was significantly delayed in children with ASD compared with children without social communication difficulties (p=0.001).
Interpretation Children with SVI or PVI are at risk of SCRR difficulties and clinical ASD. Children with ONH and/or SOD and visual impairment have a similar risk of developing clinical ASD as other visual impairment groups. However, ASD prevalence data from this study are a minimum estimate, as some young children may have developed ASD behaviours in later childhood. Developmental surveillance for children with ONH and/or SOD should continue until at least the age of 4 years 6 months.