Giacomo, A. D., Craig, F., Palermo, G., Coppola, A., Margari, M., Campanozzi, S., Margari, L., & Turi, M.

Differential Diagnosis in Children with Autistic Symptoms and Subthreshold ADOS Total Score: An Observational Study

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 17, 2163–2172

https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S300452 Download

Background: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share some symptoms with children with other neurodevelopmental disorders (ie, intellectual disability or communication disorders or language disorders). These similarities can make difficult to obtain an accurate diagnosis, which is essential to give targeted treatments to the patients. We aim to verify in our study if children with autistic traits who undergo to Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule had specific clinical diagnosis. Patients and Methods: We selected 73 children tested with ADOS-G or ADOS-2, for the presence of autistic symptoms. The whole sample did not reach the cut-off of ADOS and did not receive the ASD diagnosis, according to DSM-5. Results: Results of this study showed that in order of frequency and early diagnosis, communication disorders (CD), mild intellectual disability (mID) and the attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) represent the most common final clinical diagnosis in children with autistic traits. Conclusion: Our results showed as the CD was the common diagnosis of these children and that often associated with younger age. Moreover, analyses of ADOS domains and the difference of individual items between groups did not show the capacity to differentiate between different neurodevelopmental disorders in terms of differential diagnosis, and this confirms the need for integrating multiple sources of information during the diagnostic process.