Objectives: To compare current adult functioning of individuals who were diagnosed with autism during childhood and reported to have language regression to those without reported language regression. Current variables of interest are related to social participation, employment, and independent functioning.
Methods: Thirty-year follow-up data for 191 adults (63%) were collected from a population-based sample of 305 adults with ASD. Data on early childhood language regression were available from childhood records for 118 out of the 191 participants (62%) in the follow-up study. Adult variables of interest for the current study include employment status, independent functioning, and social participation. These variables are combined into social functioning composite scores that range from “Very Poor” to “Very Good”.
Results: In terms of social functioning outcomes, 28% of those without a reported regression experienced a “Very Poor” or “Poor” outcome, 19% were rated to have a “Fair” outcome, and 11% had a “Good” or “Very Good” outcome. Participants with language regression received the following outcome measures: 12% experienced a “Very Poor” and “Poor” outcome, 7% experienced a “Fair” outcome, and 6% a “Good” or “Very Good” outcome. Analyses of differences in social functioning composite scores for adults with and without early childhood language regression were not significant (z=-.13, p=0.8).
Conclusions: The lack of a significant difference in social functioning composite scores suggests that early language regression does not appear to affect later adult outcomes in comparison to those without language regression. This information is compelling, suggesting that while language regression can be devastating for a child with ASD and their family, they have potential to experience adult outcomes that are similar to those without reported language regression.
See more of: Clinical Phenotype
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype