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Author: Patricia Howlin (72)


Dec
1969

Autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy often co-occur; however, the extent to which the association between autism symptoms and epilepsy is due to shared aetiology or to the direct effects of seizures is a topic of ongoing debate. Angelman syndrome (AS) is presented as a suitable disease model to explore this association.
Data from medical records and questionnaires were used to examine the association between age of epilepsy onset, autism symptoms, genetic aberration and communication level.

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Nov
2017

We examined predictors of mental health difficulties and wellbeing in caregivers of children with autism in the Pre-school Autism Communication Trial cohort in middle childhood (N = 104). Child's intellectual disability, daily living skills impairment, elevated emotional and behavioural difficulties, high educational level of caregiver and household income below the median significantly predicted caregivers' mental health difficulties, but autism severity, child communication skills and family circumstances did not. Lower caregiver mental wellbeing was predicted by elevated child emotional and behavioural difficulties.

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Oct
2017

Empirically based, consumer-informed programming to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) transitioning to college is needed. Informed by theory and research, the Stepped Transition in Education Program for Students with ASD (STEPS) was developed to address this need. The first level (Step 1) supports high school students and the second level (Step 2) is for postsecondary students with ASD.

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Jul
2017

This RCT investigated whether the effect of a Theory of Mind (ToM) intervention for children with ASD was moderated by parental education level and employment, family structure, and parental ASD. Children with autism aged 8-13 years (n = 136) were randomized over a waitlist control or treatment condition. At posttest, children in the treatment condition had more ToM knowledge, showed fewer autistic features, and more ToM-related behavior than children in the control condition.

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Dec
1969

The WHO Quality of Life-Brief questionnaire was used to assess quality of life (QoL) among 52 adults with autism (mean age 49 years) followed-up since childhood. Overall, assessments of QOL were more positive than measures of objective social outcome (jobs, independence, relationships etc.) but correlations between caregiver and self-reports were low.

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Mar
2017

The processes of arrest, investigation, trial and imprisonment are often extremely difficult for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. In this study, nine offenders with autism spectrum disorders were interviewed about the circumstance surrounding the criminal acts, their views of the arrest, the police interrogation, the trial and the defence and their experiences of being in prison and/or life following the offence. The nine individuals described a range of different and often negative experiences with the Criminal Justice System.

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Mar
2017

Until recently, there has been little systematic study of adult life among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but recognition of the high psychological and social costs of ASD has led to an increase in adult-focused research over the past decade. The aim of this review is to summarize recent empirical findings on outcomes for adults with ASD.
Most research on adult outcomes in ASD indicates very limited social integration, poor job prospects and high rates of mental health problems.

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Dec
1969

It is not known whether early intervention can improve long-term autism symptom outcomes. We aimed to follow-up the Preschool Autism Communication Trial (PACT), to investigate whether the PACT intervention had a long-term effect on autism symptoms and continued effects on parent and child social interaction.
PACT was a randomised controlled trial of a parent-mediated social communication intervention for children aged 2-4 years with core autism.

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Dec
1969

Young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a high prevalence (~40 %) of anxiety disorders compared to their non-ASD peers. It is unclear whether cognitive and biological processes associated with anxiety in ASD are analogous to anxiety in typically developing (TD) populations. In this study 55 boys with ASD (34 with a co-occurring anxiety disorder, 21 without) and 28 male controls, aged 10-16 years and with a full-scale IQ ≥ 70, completed a series of clinical, cognitive (attention bias/interpretation bias) and biological measures (salivary cortisol/HR response to social stress) associated with anxiety in TD populations.

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Sep
2016

There is a growing call for empirically based programming to support the success of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as they transition to college.
The purpose of this study was to identify the needs and challenges faced by adolescents and young adults with ASD in postsecondary education.
A mixed methods approach was taken to explore the needs of college-bound and college-enrolled students with ASD.

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Apr
2017

The relationship between dissociable components of autobiographical memory (e.g. semantic personality traits and episodic memory retrieval) and other cognitive skills that are proposed to enable one to develop a sense of self (e.

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Feb
2016

In the present study we examined the nature and developmental trajectory of self-injurious behaviour in Prader Willi syndrome (PWS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The development of interventions is greatly aided by understanding gene to behaviour pathways, and this requires an accurate description of the behaviour phenotype, that is, which types and natural history of self-injurious behaviour are more common in PWS and ASD and which are shared with other forms of developmental disability. Self-injury displayed by individuals with PWS and individuals with ASD was compared with that reported in a group of individuals with intellectual disability due to mixed aetiology (ID group).

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Dec
2015

Autism is associated with impairments that have life-time consequences for diagnosed individuals and a substantial impact on families. There is growing interest in early interventions for children with autism, yet despite the substantial economic burden, there is little evidence of the cost-effectiveness of such interventions with which to support resource allocation decisions. This study reports an economic evaluation of a parent-mediated, communication-focused therapy carried out within the Pre-School Autism Communication Trial (PACT).

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Feb
2016

To assess the frequency, pervasiveness, associated features, and persistence of emotional and behavioural problems in a community sample of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Parents (n=277) and teachers (n=228) of 4- to 8-year-olds completed the Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC). Intellectual ability and autism symptomatology were also assessed.

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Jun
2015

A systematic review was conducted of outcome measures used in treatment trials for older adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Of 818 titles only 30 articles (19 of which involved pharmacological treatments) were identified that met inclusion criteria (sample size > 5; mean age of group > 15 years; mean IQ > 30; ASD diagnosis confirmed; use of objective ASD outcome measures; focus on symptoms core to or typically associated with ASDs). Selected studies included randomized and placebo-controlled trials, retrospective assessment studies, case series and open label or case-control trials.

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Oct
2015

Data on psychiatric problems in adults with autism are inconsistent, with estimated rates ranging from around 25% to over 75%. We assessed difficulties related to mental health in 58 adults with autism (10 females, 48 males; mean age 44 years) whom we have followed over four decades. All were of average non-verbal intelligence quotient when diagnosed as children.

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Jun
2015

The aim of this study was to investigate the developmental trajectories of verbal aggression, physical aggression, and temper tantrums in four genetic syndrome groups. Participants were part of the Australian Child to Adult Development Study (ACAD), which collected information from a cohort of individuals with an intellectual disability at five time points over 18 years. Data were examined from a total of 248 people with one of the four following syndromes: Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, or Williams syndrome.

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Apr
2016

Anxiety-related problems are among the most frequently reported mental health difficulties in autism spectrum disorder. As most research has focused on clinical samples or high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder, less is known about the factors associated with anxiety in community samples across the ability range. This cross-sectional study examined the association of gender, age, adaptive functioning and autism symptom severity with different caregiver-reported anxiety symptoms.

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Dec
2015

Limited perspective taking or "Theory of Mind" (ToM) abilities are a core deficit of autism, and many interventions are aimed to improve ToM abilities. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness of a ToM treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and, for the first time, the moderating roles of social interaction style (SIS) and disruptive behavior (DB), to determine which children are most likely to respond to this intervention. The trial protocol is registered at www.

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Aug
2015

We employed a clinical sample of young children with ASD, with and without intellectual disability, to determine the rate and type of psychiatric disorders and possible association with risk factors. We assessed 101 children (57 males, 44 females) aged 4.5-9.

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Mar
2015

Little is known about adult siblings of individuals with autism. We report on cognitive, social and mental health outcomes in 87 adult siblings (mean age 39 years). When younger all had been assessed either as being "unaffected" by autism (n = 69) or as meeting criteria for the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (BAP, n = 18).

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Aug
2014

Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have much higher rates of anxiety disorders relative to their typically developing peers. However, there have been few attempts to investigate what physiological parameters may be associated with this elevated rate of anxiety. Therefore, this study investigated the physiological correlates of anxiety in ASD, with a focus on whether measures of heart rate and cortisol responsiveness to psychosocial stress differentiate those participants with ASD with and without a co-occurring anxiety disorder.

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Sep
2014

Autobiographical memory was assessed in 24 children (12 male, 12 female, aged between 8 and 16 years) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a comparison group of 24 typically developing (TD) children matched for age, IQ, gender and receptive language. Results suggested that a deficit in specific memory retrieval in the ASD group was more characteristic of male participants. Females in both the TD and ASD groups generated more detailed and emotional memories than males.

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Aug
2014

Recent research shows that a significant minority of children with Down's syndrome (DS) also meet diagnostic criteria for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The present study investigated what proportion of children aged 6-15 years with a confirmed diagnosis of DS in England and Wales display autistic-type behaviours, and explored the characteristics of this group of children. The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) was used to screen for autism characteristics and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to explore behavioural difficulties.

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Aug
2014

Despite high rates of clinically elevated anxiety difficulties in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), very few studies have systematically examined the usefulness of commonly used caregiver report anxiety screening tools with this population. This study investigated the use of the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale-Parent version (SCAS-P) as a screening tool for anxiety disorders when compared to a standardized DSM-IV-TR-based clinical interview, the Kiddie-Schedule for Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders-Present and Lifetime version (K-SADS-PL). Thirty-two caregivers of youth with a clinical diagnosis of ASD (mean age 10.

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Feb
2014

Although increasing numbers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are now entering adolescence and adulthood, there is limited research on outcomes post childhood. A systematic review of the existing literature was conducted.
PsycINFO, PubMed, MedLine and CINAHL were systematically searched using keywords related to ASD and adolescent and adult outcomes.

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Jul
2014

The current study aims to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Emotion Regulation and Social Skills Questionnaire (ERSSQ), a rating scale designed specifically to assess the social skills of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The participants were 84 children and young adolescents with ASD, aged between 7.97 and 14.

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Feb
2014

Autobiographical memory (AM) was assessed in 63 children (aged 8-17 years) with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and compared with 63 typically developing children matched for age, gender, IQ, and verbal ability. A range of methodologies was employed for eliciting past experience with particular focus on the ability to recall (a) specific events, (b) the recent and remote past, and (c) semantic versus episodic memories across different lifetime periods. Results indicated that the ASD group manifested difficulties in retrieving specific memories to word cues and had poorer access to the remote past.

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Nov
2014

Adults with autism face high rates of unemployment. Supported employment enables individuals with autism to secure and maintain a paid job in a regular work environment. The objective of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of supported employment compared with standard care (day services) for adults with autism in the United Kingdom.

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Jul
2013

We evaluated autism spectrum disorder (ASD) characteristics and social behavior in Angelman (AS; n  =  19; mean age  = 10.35 years), Cornelia de Lange (CdLS; n  =  15; mean age  = 12.40 years), and Cri du Chat (CdCS, also known as 5 p-syndrome; n  =  19; mean age  =  8.

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Aug
2013

Young people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to have heightened levels of anxiety compared with their typically developing (non-ASD) peers. The reasons for this are poorly understood, and there has been little research investigating the cognitive correlates of anxiety in individuals with ASD. Typically developing youth with anxiety disorders have frequently been found to show an attentional bias toward threatening information.

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Jan
2014

It is well established that very few individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and an IQ below 70 are able to live independently as adults. However, even amongst children with an IQ in the normal range, outcome is very variable. Childhood factors that predict later stability, improvement or decline in cognitive functioning remain uncertain and, in particular, very little is known about trajectories in later adulthood.

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Jun
2013

To describe current social functioning in a clinical sample of 60 adults with autism (mean age = 44 years) who were all of average nonverbal IQ (70+) when first diagnosed (mean age = 6.75 years).
Outcome measures included standardized diagnostic and cognitive assessments and questionnaires on social functioning.

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May
2012

In the decades since autism was first formally described in the 1940s, there have been major advances in research relating to diagnosis, causation, and treatment approaches for children with this condition. However, research into prognosis, outcomes, or effective interventions for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is much more limited. In this paper, we review studies of outcome in adulthood.

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Aug
2012

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptomatology is comparatively high in Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS). However, the profile and developmental trajectories of these ASD characteristics are potentially different to those observed in individuals with idiopathic ASD. In this study we examine the ASD profile in CdLS in comparison to a matched group of individuals with ASD.

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Nov
2012

This study investigated whether the novel Comic Strip Task (CST) could be used to detect Theory-of-Mind impairments (ToM) in 4- to 8-year-old children with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Twelve children with either high-functioning autism or Asperger's Disorder and 12 typically-developing children completed the 21-item measure. The overall CST demonstrated moderate internal consistency but the Belief-understanding subscale was excluded from the test due to poor reliability.

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Jun
2012

Understanding savant skills in autism.

Dev Med Child Neurol 2012 Jun 13;54(6):484. Epub 2012 Mar 13.
Patricia Howlin

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Apr
2011

Epilepsy occurs in a significant minority of individuals with autism, but few long-term follow-up studies have been reported, so the prevalence, features (type of seizures, age at onset and severity, etc.) and correlates (IQ history of regression, family history) have only partially been identified.
To undertake a long-term follow-up study of individuals with autism in order to better characterise the features and correlates of epilepsy in individuals with autism.

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Apr
2011

The experiences of mothers of adult offspring with Angelman, Cornelia de Lange, or Cri du Chat syndrome have not been previously explored in research. The current study focuses on experiences with social and medical services and the impact the rareness of an adult offspring's syndrome has on the experiences of mothers. Eight mothers of adults with Angelman, Cornelia de Lange, or Cri du Chat syndrome were interviewed.

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Oct
2010

In spite of increasing interest in cognitive behaviour therapy for emotional disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), little research has explored the relevance of the cognitive model in this population. This study explores dysfunctional attitudes and perfectionism in boys with ASD and the relationship with anxious and depressive symptoms. Compared to a typically developing group (n = 42), boys with ASD (n = 41) endorsed more dysfunctional attitudes and reported higher emotional symptoms.

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Oct
2010

In early typical language development, children understand words before they are able to use them in speech. Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) generally show impairments in both the comprehension and the production of language. However, the relative degree of delay or impairment in each of these sub-domains may also be atypical and remains less well-understood.

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Oct
2010

Previous studies have investigated trajectories of cognitive, language and adaptive functioning in Williams syndrome (WS) but little is known about how other aspects of the Williams syndrome behavioural phenotype change across the life-span. Therefore, the present study examined age associated changes in a number of different domains of functioning in adults with WS. Semi-structured interviews and standardized assessments of physical health, educational and occupational levels, self-care and independence, social interactions, and behavioural difficulties were conducted with adults with WS and their parents/carers.

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Jan
2010

Although many researchers have investigated emotional and behavioral difficulties in individuals with Williams syndrome, few have used standardized diagnostic assessments. We examined mental health problems in 92 adults with Williams syndrome using the Psychiatric Assessment Schedule for Adults with Developmental Disabilities-PAS-ADD (Moss, Goldberg, et al., 1996).

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May
2009

Most investigations of savant skills in autism are based on individual case reports. The present study investigated rates and types of savant skills in 137 individuals with autism (mean age 24 years). Intellectual ability ranged from severe intellectual impairment to superior functioning.

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