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Regression of language and non-language skills in pervasive developmental disorders.
J Intellect Disabil Res. 2009 Feb; 53(2):115-24.JI

Abstract

BACKGROUND

As part of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), there is a subgroup of individuals reported to have a different onset of symptom appearance consisting of an apparently normal early development, followed by a loss of verbal and/or non-verbal skills prior to 2 years of age. This study aims at comparing the symptomatology of children who displayed a regression and often an associated intellectual disability through investigation of two types of loss, namely language and other skill regression.

METHODS

This study examined the occurrence of regression in 135 children with PDD, mean age 6.3 years. The sample was composed of 80 (59.4%) children diagnosed with autism, 44 (32.6%) with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and 11 (8%) with Asperger syndrome. The Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R) was used to evaluate the type of loss and to characterise associated factors including birth rank, gender and thimerosal exposure through vaccination.

RESULTS

A total of 30 (22%) subjects regressed: nine (30%) underwent language regression alone, 17 (57%) lost a skill other than language and four (13%) lost both language and another skill. Significantly higher levels of regression were found in autism (30%) compared with PDD-NOS (14%) and Asperger syndrome (0%). Children who regressed in language skills spoke at a significantly earlier age (= 12 months) than those who did not regress in this domain (= 26 months). Parents and interviewers consistently reported developmental abnormalities prior to the loss. ADI-R domain mean scores indicated a more severe autistic symptomatology profile in children who regressed compared with those who did not, especially in the repetitive behaviour domain. Regression was not associated to thimerosal exposure, indirectly estimated by year of birth.

CONCLUSIONS

A loss of skill, present in one out of five children with PDD, is associated with a slightly more severe symptomatology as measured by the ADI-R, particularly in the repetitive behaviours domain. Furthermore, although abnormalities are often noticed by the caregivers at the time of regression, the ADI-R reveals that other atypical behaviours were in fact present prior to the onset of regression in most cases. None of the secondary factors investigated were associated with regression. In children unexposed to thimerosal-containing vaccines, the rate of regression was similar to that reported in studies of samples exposed to thimerosal, suggesting that thimerosal has no specific association with regressive autism.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Université de Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada.No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19054269

Citation

Meilleur, A-A S., and E Fombonne. "Regression of Language and Non-language Skills in Pervasive Developmental Disorders." Journal of Intellectual Disability Research : JIDR, vol. 53, no. 2, 2009, pp. 115-24.
Meilleur AA, Fombonne E. Regression of language and non-language skills in pervasive developmental disorders. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2009;53(2):115-24.
Meilleur, A. A., & Fombonne, E. (2009). Regression of language and non-language skills in pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research : JIDR, 53(2), 115-24. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2788.2008.01134.x
Meilleur AA, Fombonne E. Regression of Language and Non-language Skills in Pervasive Developmental Disorders. J Intellect Disabil Res. 2009;53(2):115-24. PubMed PMID: 19054269.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Regression of language and non-language skills in pervasive developmental disorders. AU - Meilleur,A-A S, AU - Fombonne,E, Y1 - 2008/11/27/ PY - 2008/12/5/pubmed PY - 2009/6/3/medline PY - 2008/12/5/entrez SP - 115 EP - 24 JF - Journal of intellectual disability research : JIDR JO - J Intellect Disabil Res VL - 53 IS - 2 N2 - BACKGROUND: As part of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), there is a subgroup of individuals reported to have a different onset of symptom appearance consisting of an apparently normal early development, followed by a loss of verbal and/or non-verbal skills prior to 2 years of age. This study aims at comparing the symptomatology of children who displayed a regression and often an associated intellectual disability through investigation of two types of loss, namely language and other skill regression. METHODS: This study examined the occurrence of regression in 135 children with PDD, mean age 6.3 years. The sample was composed of 80 (59.4%) children diagnosed with autism, 44 (32.6%) with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and 11 (8%) with Asperger syndrome. The Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R) was used to evaluate the type of loss and to characterise associated factors including birth rank, gender and thimerosal exposure through vaccination. RESULTS: A total of 30 (22%) subjects regressed: nine (30%) underwent language regression alone, 17 (57%) lost a skill other than language and four (13%) lost both language and another skill. Significantly higher levels of regression were found in autism (30%) compared with PDD-NOS (14%) and Asperger syndrome (0%). Children who regressed in language skills spoke at a significantly earlier age (= 12 months) than those who did not regress in this domain (= 26 months). Parents and interviewers consistently reported developmental abnormalities prior to the loss. ADI-R domain mean scores indicated a more severe autistic symptomatology profile in children who regressed compared with those who did not, especially in the repetitive behaviour domain. Regression was not associated to thimerosal exposure, indirectly estimated by year of birth. CONCLUSIONS: A loss of skill, present in one out of five children with PDD, is associated with a slightly more severe symptomatology as measured by the ADI-R, particularly in the repetitive behaviours domain. Furthermore, although abnormalities are often noticed by the caregivers at the time of regression, the ADI-R reveals that other atypical behaviours were in fact present prior to the onset of regression in most cases. None of the secondary factors investigated were associated with regression. In children unexposed to thimerosal-containing vaccines, the rate of regression was similar to that reported in studies of samples exposed to thimerosal, suggesting that thimerosal has no specific association with regressive autism. SN - 1365-2788 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19054269/Regression_of_language_and_non_language_skills_in_pervasive_developmental_disorders_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2788.2008.01134.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -