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Neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental outcome of children at age 6 and 7 years who screened positive for language problems at 30 months.

Journal article
Authors Carmela Miniscalco
Gudrun Nygren
Bibbi Hagberg
Björn Kadesjö
Christopher Gillberg
Published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Volume 48
Issue 5
Pages 361-366
ISSN 0012-1622
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Audiology, Logopedics, Occupational Therapy & Physiotherapy
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 361-366
Language en
Keywords Age Factors, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Autistic Disorder, diagnosis, epidemiology, Child, Cognition Disorders, diagnosis, epidemiology, Dyslexia, diagnosis, epidemiology, Feasibility Studies, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Language Disorders, diagnosis, epidemiology, Language Tests, Learning Disorders, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, Male, Mass Screening, Methods, Motor Skills Disorders, diagnosis, epidemiology, Neuropsychological Tests, Prospective Studies, Severity of Illness Index
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


We present a prospective study at school age of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental outcome of language delay suspected at child health screening around 30 months of age. In a community sample, 25 children (21 males, 4 females) screening positive and 80 children (38 males, 42 females) screening negative for speech and language problems at age 30 months were examined in detail for language disorders at age 6 years. The screen-positive children were then followed for another year and underwent in-depth neuropsychiatric examination by assessors blind to the results of previous testing. Detailed follow-up results at age 7 years were available for 21 children. Thirteen of these 21 children (62%) had a major neuropsychiatric diagnosis (autism, atypical autism, Asperger's syndrome, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]), or combinations of these. Two further children (10%) had borderline IQ with no other major diagnosis. We conclude that children in the general population who screen positive for speech and language problems before age 3 years appear to be at very high risk of autism spectrum disorders or ADHD, or both, at 7 years of age. Remaining language problems at age 6 years strongly predict the presence of neuropsychiatric or neurodevelopmental disorders at age 7 years.

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