Could head circumference be used to screen for autism in young males with developmental delay?

Kylie Megan Gray, John Raymond Taffe, Deborah Jane Sweeney, Sheridan Lee Forster, Bruce John Tonge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research has suggested an abnormal acceleration in head circumference growth in children with autism within the first 12 months of life. This study aimed to examine head circumference at birth and head circumference growth rates in young children with autism and developmental delay, and young children with developmental delay without autism. Methods: This study assessed head circumference at birth and rate of change in head circumference in young children with autism (n= 86) and children with developmental delay without autism (n= 40). Results: For both groups of children, head circumference at birth and head circumference growth were compared with Centers for Disease Control normative data. No differences were found between the group of children with autism and developmental delay compared with the group with developmental delay only. However, when the sample was compared with a range of selected Centers for Disease Control normative medians, the children with autism were found to have significantly smaller head circumferences at birth and significantly larger head circumference at 18.5 months of age. Conclusions: These results are discussed in relation to the potential of accelerated head circumference growth as an early marker for autism. This study failed to find a difference in the head circumferences of children with autism and developmental delay and children with developmental delay only, thus suggesting that head circumference measurement has limited value as an early marker for autism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329 - 334
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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