Stability and change in social interaction style of children with autism spectrum disorder: A 4-year follow-up study

Anke M. Scheeren*, Hans M. Koot, Sander Begeer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show atypical social behavior but vary in their social interaction style (SIS), ranging from social aloofness to awkward social approaches. In a 4-year follow-up study, we examined longitudinal stability and change of SIS in children and adolescents with ASD and a normal intellectual ability (n = 55; mean age Time 1: 13 years; mean age Time 2: 17 years). Children's SIS was assessed with a parent questionnaire, the Wing Subtypes Questionnaire. As expected, most participants (69%) showed SIS stability across the 4-year interval. Some participants (18%) shifted to a more typical or more active (but odd) SIS, while others (13%) shifted to a less typical or less active (but odd) SIS. A decrease in ASD symptoms predicted a shift toward a more typical or active SIS, but children's age and receptive verbal ability did not. SISs may be a meaningful way to create ASD subgroups and thus offer a promising research venue to further disentangle the heterogeneous autism spectrum. Autism Res 2020, 13: 74–81.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
JournalAutism Research
Issue number1
Early online date31 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020



  • adolescence
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • longitudinal design
  • social development
  • social interaction style

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