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

Abstract

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
Volume13
Issue number1
Early online date31 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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Keywords

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

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