Standard scale identifies anxiety in children with autism
Description

A widely used questionnaire designed to measure anxiety flags the condition in children with autism, two studies suggest1,2.

The test, called the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale, is established for use in typical children. Its 38 questions assess six types of anxiety: generalized anxiety; panic and a fear of open spaces; fear of physical injury and specific phobias; social anxiety; obsessive-compulsive disorder; and separation anxiety.

Roughly 40 percent of children with autism have anxiety, compared with about 25 percent of typical children3. Yet anxiety is notoriously challenging to diagnose in children with autism, as it can manifest differently than in typical children. Certain autism features, such as social difficulties, can also masquerade as anxiety.

The new studies investigate whether a version of the Spence scale completed by parents can detect anxiety in children with autism.

One of the studies, published in June in Autism Research, pools data from 870 children with autism across 12 studies in the United Kingdom, Singapore and the United States. The children ranged in age from 5 to 18 years.

Of the 849 children in the study who did not have a clinical diagnosis of anxiety, 397 (47 percent) scored above the cutoff for the condition on the Spence scale. Of the remaining 21 children, who do have an anxiety diagnosis, 16 (76 percent) scored above the cutoff.

Overall, the parents’ answers consistently indicated the presence or absence of anxiety in their child. The researchers detected similar consistency in subsections probing types of anxiety, suggesting that the subsections correctly identify the types. The one exception is the subsection on fear of physical injury and specific phobias, for which parent responses were inconsistent.

The other study, which looked at 238 children with autism aged 7 to 11 years, also found consistent responses across parts of the questionnaire. However, questions probing social anxiety and physical injury or phobias yielded inconsistent responses. The results were published in April in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

The findings suggest that the Spence scale can identify anxiety in children with autism. But screens specific to autism may be necessary to identify the subtype, the researchers say.

For example, the scales do not correctly identify fears in children with autism. That may be because these children tend to have unusual phobias, such as a fear of flushing toilets, that the questions do not capture.

The post Standard scale identifies anxiety in children with autism appeared first on Spectrum | Autism Research News.

Comments
Order by: 
Per page:
 
  • There are no comments yet
Related Feed Entries
About 17 percent of children with autism are calmer and more communicative than usual when they have a fever, according to a new analysis1. Children with severe autism features are most likely to show these gains. Understanding how fever affects autism features could help researchers uncover causes …
19 hours ago · From Spectrum News
By Leigh Marcos Loss and grief are a normal part of life. Explaining the concept of death and the grieving process to children can be difficult, and even more so when the child is on the autism spectrum. The idea of not being able to see or talk to the person who has died again can be very confusing…
19 hours ago · From The Art of Autism
The post Maternal immunity; drug doubts; harassment scandal and more appeared first on Spectrum | Autism Research News. Source: Spectrum News
4 days ago · From Spectrum News
A new technique classifies neurons by surveying chemical tags that turn genes on or off on the neurons’ DNA1. The approach represents a new way to chart the brain’s cellular diversity. It could reveal how patterns of chemical tags known as methyl groups are altered in autism. Methyl groups bind to t…
4 days ago · From Spectrum News
Autism Sonata by Neena Wagh A world viewed with squinted eyes different sounds howling in the ears spinning and swirling like a derwish, laughing at me, laughing with me, a mystery waiting to be unfold, catch me..catch me if you can, breathless, I am caught unaware! making sense of things beyond me,…
4 days ago · From The Art of Autism
Rate
0 votes
Info
14.07.2017 (14.07.2017)
23 Views
0 Subscribers
Recommend
Tags