Understanding Prevalence and Kindergarten Behavioural Profiles of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Objectives: This study aims to 1) determine the concordance of EDI and administrative data when identifying children with ASD in Manitoba, and 2) examine differences in behavioural profiles of children in five developmental domains by child’s diagnosis and teacher’s knowledge. We expect that there will be no difference in teachers’ ratings of children with the confirmed (through linkage) ASD diagnosis between those for whom teacher reported the diagnosis and for whom s/he did not.
Methods: The Early Development Instrument (EDI) has been used in Manitoba since 2005 and has included the option to identify children that fall on the autism spectrum since 2011. Combining this population-level data with health and educational administrative data provides a powerful opportunity to explore the identification of ASD in Manitoba.
EDI data including indication of ASD were collected in Manitoba in academic years 2010-2011 and 2012-2013. Health and education administrative data have been collected on an ongoing basis in Manitoba and are housed through the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP). These data include, but are not limited to, prescription information, hospitalization records, and codes for diagnoses.
Results: Results show good concordance between the administrative and EDI data. The administrative data show an overall prevalence rate of ASD in kindergarten at 0.9% (n=229) and the EDI data estimates ASD prevalence at 0.8% (n=191). Fifty-eight percent (n=177) of ASD cases were identified by both the administrative data and the EDI, 37% (n=112) of ASD cases were identified prior to kindergarten only by the administrative data, and 5% (n=14) of cases were identified only by the EDI data. Comparison of behavioural profiles between the groups is ongoing.
Conclusions: The EDI and administrative data in Manitoba show good concordance in identifying children with ASD at school entry. Our investigation takes into consideration details such as the age of first diagnosis and post-kindergarten diagnoses. We also examine associated child vulnerability at school entry as determined by the EDI, which has implications for practices, procedures, and policy surrounding identification and assistance of children with ASD in the school system.