A study from INCITE's Understanding Autism Project was published in Pediatrics. This study's objective was to describe the typical longitudinal developmental trajectories of social and communication functioning in children with autism and to determine the correlates of these trajectories.
The study, which examines a large dataset of case load files from the California Department of Developmental Services, found children whose symptoms were least severe at first diagnosis tended to improve more rapidly than those severely affected. One group of children experienced rapid gains, moving from severely affected to high functioning. Socioeconomic factors were correlated with trajectory outcomes; children with non-Hispanic, white, well-educated mothers were more likely to be high functioning, and minority children with less-educated mothers or intellectual disabilities were very unlikely to experience rapid gains.
The study was co-authored by Christine Fountain, Alix S. Winter, and Peter Bearman.