Journal Article Review

Team A: Denise, Madison, Donna

Article 1: Screening for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Infants before 18 Months of age

This article discusses screenings for autism spectrum disorders in infants before 18 months of age. The article defines Autism spectrum disorder as “group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges for children and families” (Cangialose, 2014). This article also reveals key developmental tasks that can be assessed by pediatric primary care providers to determine increased risk for autism spectrum disorder in infants. The screenings should be done at nine, twelve, and fifteen months prior to the formal screening for this disorder at 18 and 24 months.

One strong statistic is, “an estimated one in 88 children in the United States are affected by an ASD” (Cangialose, 2014).

“Early identification and intervention have been shown to improve outcomes for these children, and the routine well-child visit is a critical opportunity for pediatric health care providers to obtain developmental information relating to ASD identification” (Cangialose, 2014).

There are three main screening tools discussed in the article, ITC, ESAT, and M-CHAT. Some behaviors to look for are joint attention, eye contact, response to name, spontaneous showing and pointing, object play, hypersensitivity to stimuli, and social interest. The chart shows that how each screening tools tests the student and evaluates their behaviors.

I have never actually witnessed a screening test done to a student. Although I have heard about them briefly through work, I have never actually seen the questions associated with each screening and what exactly the behaviors are that the professional is looking for. These screening actually test and evaluate the student’s respective and expressive language, cognitive communication, social aspects of communication, and communication modalities. Each question on the chart for all the screening reflect on those few topics.

Since I work with autistic students every day I see a lot of behaviors that reflect the list on the chart. It is interesting to see how each student is so different from one another based of the screenings done. The information in the article supports my beliefs on receptive and expressive language, cognitive communication, social aspects of communication, and communication modalities. These topics are a huge struggle for autistic students, and it takes a lot for them to overcome the challenges within.

Article 2: Comorbid Psychopathology in Autism Spectrum Disorder

The article looked at the prevalence of other disorders co-existing with ASD. The authors looked at the “relationship between comorbid psychopathology and outcome variables, such as challenging behavior, adaptive behavior, language and communication, and quality of life” (Mannion, Brahm, & Leader, 2014, p. 124) with those on the ASD. The hypothesis is that those when ASD coexist with other disorders that it may affect the severity of autism characteristics. The most common comorbid disorders with ASD are mood , anxiety, conduct and defiance, ADD, and ADHD as well as schizophrenia. “It was found that children and adolescents with ASD endorsed a higher number of psychiatric symptoms compared to same aged typically developing peers” (Mannion et. al, 2014, p. 125).

The article discusses the prevalence of ASD with other disorders. The difficulty is to discern which is the primary and which is the secondary disorder. It was found that the ASD is most often the primary ailment and the symptoms, characteristics can be exacerbated by the co-existent disorder. “Higher rates of anxiety produce higher rates of tantrum behaviors, repetitive behaviors, worry/depressed behaviors, and avoidant behaviors than control participants” (Mannion et. al, 2014, p. 126). Further evidence is demonstrated by the similarity of ASD and OCD which show “impaired control of mental activities” (Mannion et. al, 2014, p. 126). Other disorders such as depression, anxiety and even phobias of increase the incidence of avoidance and loneliness. The authors also “found that lack of autistic regression was associated with increased risk of psychiatric comorbidity” ((Mannion et. al, 2014, p. 128).

“Stratis and Lecavalier (2013) found that level of functioning moderated the relationship between self-injurious behavior (SIB) and depressive and anxiety symptoms. higher functioning individuals, higher levels of SIB are more predictive of more severe depressive and anxiety symptoms. For lower functioning individuals, higher levels of SIB are predictive of less severe depressive and anxiety symptoms” as found in Mannion et. al, 2014, p. 128. Those in the fields that deal with individuals with ASD know the basic characteristics of autism which include a wide range of ailments, hence the purpose of the spectrum. For the lower functioning individuals are more apt to be non verbal, have repetitive motions, and more prevalent to tantrums to share their frustrations. Those on the higher end of the spectrum have more social issues and more lonely. But having a comorbid disorder can intensify those traits.

The information learned from the team activity provides new information on ASD. The current article explained the impact of comorbidity and how other disorders can intensify the characteristics of ASD. This information here and that shared by other team members will greatly influence the understanding of ASD for this student. The impact on receptive and expressive language, the understanding of changes in one’s cognitive communication, the influence of various mood disorders on social communications and the overall power of the disorders over general communication modalities. The existence of ASD tremendously alters the personality and communication of individuals with ASD, but when it coexists with other disorders the impacts are worsened.