Master of Arts (MA)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by pervasive delays in socialization, communication, and repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. While there is a growing body of evidence on the etiology of ASD, there are a limited number of studies examining factors which may impact the differentiation of ASD compared to other developmental disabilities. Additionally, few studies have examined factors which may predict level of ASD symptom severity. The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether premature birth occurs more commonly in infants and toddlers (17-37 months) with ASD than those with atypical development. A secondary aim of this study was to investigate whether length of gestation predicts scores on the Baby and Infant Screen for Children with aUtIsm Traits (BISCUIT), Part 1, a measure of overall impairment, in participants with ASD. Participants were separated into two groups (i.e., ASD, atypical development), and compared on the basis of parent/caregiver reported incidence of premature birth and average weeks of gestation. Additional analyses included within group comparisons for the ASD diagnostic group by separating individuals who were born prematurely and full term and analyzing their total scores on the BISCUIT-Part 1 were. Differences in overall level of functioning were assessed. Results of the current study indicate that infants and toddlers with atypical development are more likely to be born prematurely; however, average weeks of gestation did not significantly differ between the groups. Follow up analyses of participants with ASD revealed that premature birth was not a predictor of level of severity. Implications of these findings are discussed.
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Goldin, Rachel Lichtenstein, "Premature Birth as a Factor in Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2014). LSU Master's Theses. 3719.