What happens to children with PDD when they grow up? Prospective follow-up of 219 children from preschool age to mid-childhood


Amaria Baghdadli, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, Centre de Ressources Autisme, Clinique Peyre-Plantade, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, 291 avenue du Doyen Giraud, 34295 Montpellier, Cedex 5, France.
E-mail: a-baghdadli@chu-montpellier.fr


Objective:  To describe the psychological development of children with pervasive developmental disorders over a period of 3 years and to identify the factors linked to their developmental paths.

Method:  The study was a collaborative and prospective follow-up study of 219 preschoolers. Retrospective data and enrollment data were collected at the beginning of the study and 3 years later.

Results:  We observed high variability in the short-term outcomes of preschoolers. In line with previous research, our results showed that intellectual, linguistic and adaptive functioning were useful for predicting outcome. The severity of a child's autistic symptoms appears to be related to his or her future development. These variables can therefore be used as predictors of outcome for preschoolers with autism.

Conclusion:  Developmental and symptom changes in young children with autism should not be overlooked and need to be assessed regularly in view of choosing suitable servicing programs.