Screening methods for autism spectrum disorders in the study of neuropsychological development of preschool children

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Aim. To assess the effectiveness of screening methods for diagnosing autism spectrum disorders available to the pediatric service; to prove in practice impossibilities to identify signs of autism spectrum disorders by using the existed pediatric methods.

Methods. The neuropsychological development of 187 preschool children (5–6 years old) was investigated. The neurological status, anxiety according to A.M. Parishioners, level of intelligence using Raven's Progressive Matrices, the presence of hyperactivity according to the method of V.R. Kuchma, mental performance according to V.Ya. Anfimov, screening diagnostics of autism spectrum disorders were studied.

Results. Assessment of the neurological status showed an increase in tendon reflexes in 10.2±2.2% of children, a decrease in 12.3±2.4%. The study of the intelligence levels in the Ravenna test showed that the average intelligence level was in 47.1±3.7% of the studied children, the intelligence was below the average in 52.9±3.7% of children. Screening diagnostics of autism spectrum disorders did not reveal abnormalities, however, 5.3±1.6% of children had signs of predisposition to the autism spectrum disorder (decreased adaptation to changes, nervousness and fears, verbal and non-verbal communication, level of activity and consistency of intellectual response). The indicator of the productivity of mental performance of preschool children was 5.4±0.5. Attention deficit was detected in 5.9±1.7% of children (according to the parent's questionnaire) and 8.6±2.0% children (according to the teachers' questionnaire). The level of anxiety was 9.6±0.3 points.

Conclusion. The currently known screening methods for detecting autism spectrum disorders, available to the pediatric service, in our opinion, are uninformative; the search for the most sensitive markers of autism should be based on an understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders.

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About the authors

E A Tkachuk

Scientific Center for Family Health and Human Reproduction; Irkutsk State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
Russian Federation, Irkutsk, Russia; Irkutsk, Russia

N N Martynovich

Irkutsk State Medical University

Russian Federation, Irkutsk, Russia

L V Rychkova

Scientific Center for Family Health and Human Reproduction

Russian Federation, Irkutsk, Russia


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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Рис. 1. Распределение показателей шкалы оценки детского аутизма

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