Identifying Correlates of Adaptive Functioning in Children and Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Disorders: A Pond Network Investigation
Objectives: To examine the association of both NDD categorical diagnoses and dimensional NDD traits cutting across diagnoses on adaptive functioning.
Methods: Study data were obtained from the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND) Network. Sample consisted of 2258 participants aged 3-18 years who are typically developing (n=364) or have clinical categorical diagnoses of ASD, ADHD, OCD, or ID. Behavioural variables-of-interest were obtained from psychometrically validated subscales of Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), Repetitive Behaviors Scale–Revised (RBS-R), Toronto Obsessive-Compulsive Rating Scale (TOCS), Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD Symptoms and Normal Behavior Rating Scales (SWAN), and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Adaptive functioning in conceptual, practical, and social domains was measured by the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, 2nd Edition (ABAS-II). Elasticnet regularized regression was performed in R. False discovery rate correction was performed on approximate t-statistics to identify significant correlates across all regression outcomes.
Results: Having an ASD diagnosis and exhibiting higher levels of inattention were significant correlates of poorer adaptive functioning across all three domains. Severity of restricted interests in behaviour (measured by RBS-R) and repetitiveness (measured by SCQ) both had significant negative effects in conceptual and social domains.
Conclusions: An ASD diagnosis and dimensional traits of inattentiveness and repetitiveness are most associated with poorer adaptive functioning in children and youth. Increased understanding of adaptive functioning and specific correlates across NDDs can lead to better clinical assessment, tailored interventions, and improved transition to adulthood for children and adolescents with NDDs.