Behavioral characteristics of autism spectrum disorder in very preterm birth children

  • Li Wen Chen (Creator)
  • Shan Tair Wang (Contributor)
  • Lan Wan Wang (Contributor)
  • Yu Chia Kao (Contributor)
  • Ching Lin Chu (Contributor)
  • Chin Chin Wu (Contributor)
  • Yi Ting Hsieh (Creator)
  • Chung Hsin Chiang (Contributor)
  • Chao-Ching Huang (National Cheng Kung University) (Contributor)



Abstract Background Lower gestational age may increase autism spectrum disorder (ASD) vulnerability; however, the incidence of ASD diagnosis through a direct assessment on every very preterm birth child on the population base remains unclear. Moreover, the behavioral characteristics of preterm birth ASD are unknown. Methods Every very preterm birth child (gestational age 37 weeks) ASD children characterized by ADOS and ADI-R were group matched to the preterm birth ASD by age at examination for comparison. ADOS severity scores were calculated by the Mann–Whitney U test and ADI-R by multivariate analysis of variance and canonical discriminant analysis. Results Two hundred forty-six (87%) of the 283 very preterm survivors were followed prospectively to 5 years of age. Nineteen (7.7%) of the 246 children fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of ASD. After excluding 1 patient with cerebral palsy and profound mental disability, 18 preterm ASD children were compared with 44 term birth ASD children. The two ASD groups were comparable for age at examination, gender, and intelligence quotient. The two groups showed comparable ADOS severity scores in social affect deficits, restricted repetitive behaviors, and total score, but had differences in qualitative abnormalities in reciprocal social interaction (Wilks lambda F value = 6.2, P