A behavioral profile of preschool-aged children with autism spectrum disorders
Moon, Kathryn Fountain
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The purpose of the current study was to determine if a behavioral profile for preschool-aged children with autism spectrum disorders could be detected using the Parent Rating Scale, Preschool form of the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC PRS-P; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992). Subjects included103 preschool-aged children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, 30 children diagnosed with language disorders, and 535 children from the normative sample of the BASC PRS-P. As hypothesized, at-risk scores were obtained for children with autism spectrum disorders on the Atypicality, Withdrawal, Attention Problems, Adaptability, and Social Skills scales. Significant differences were observed between the autism spectrum disorders group and the normative sample group on all BASC scales but Somatization. A statistically significant result was also obtained when comparing the Social Skills of children with autism spectrum disorders and children with language disorders. Parent and teacher scores indicated at-risk concerns associated with Atypicality, Withdrawal, Attention Problems, Adaptability, and Social Skills. Interrater analysis suggested significant differences between parents and teachers on the Social Skills, Aggression, Depression, and Withdrawal scales. Except for Social Skills, teachers rated these behaviors as more problematic than was indicated by parents. Logistic regression produced a nine-item screener that distinguished children with autism spectrum disorders from children in the BASC PRS-P normative sample in 96.77% of cases. The same screener was used in an attempt to distinguish children with autism spectrum disorders from children with language disorders. Although the screener continued to be successful in classifying children with autism spectrum disorders (96.74%), only 55.17% of children with language disorders were correctly classified. Findings, limitations, and future directions were discussed.