Autism symptoms in toddlers linked to pre-teen psychosis

A recent study published in the March issue of Schizophrenia Research and reported in Family Practice News examined a large cohort of children in a longitudinal study looking for early speech and social problems and ritualistic behaviours at the benchmark ages of 3 and 7 and correlated psychotic episodes at age 12.  The authors argue for careful reviewing of these pre-morbid symptoms when pre-teens exhibit psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and thought disorders, however early awareness and intervention is also implicated in prevention of these problems.


1 Response to “Autism symptoms in toddlers linked to pre-teen psychosis”

  1. 1 Adam McCrimmon March 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    It is an interesting finding; however, it would be important for the public to be aware that “autistic symptoms” does not equate to “autism” or “ASD”. A significant proportion of the population demonstrates sub-threshold characteristics of the spectrum. Uncle Danny is socially awkward, or your cousin Louise REALLY loves Dora the Explorer. Taken individually, these things do not result in a diagnosis, but they’re present in a large number of people. It’s only when an individual displays a combination of these types of behaviours that a diagnosis becomes a possibility.

    I think that it is an important finding in that, potentially, having sub-threshold characteristics appears to be a risk factor for developing psychotic symptoms in adolescence, and is something that siblings and family members of an individual on the spectrum should be aware of (as they are the most frequent population to demonstrate these sub-threshold traits, most commonly referred to as Broader Autism Phenotype or BAP). By being aware of this link, family members and caregivers can be attuned to the development of psychotic symptoms, and hopefully can monitor the individual for the presence of them, in the hopes of early detection and intervention.

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