Previous studies have reported that ASD children with more severe symptoms are diagnosed earlier. However, previous studies in community settings have mostly relied on retrospective parental reports without the use of quantitative standardized test scores. Here, we evaluated the association of language, cognitive, and ASD severity standardized scores with the age of diagnosis in 1-6-year-old children diagnosed in a public healthcare setting. The results revealed that language scores were the strongest variable associated with the age of diagnosis, explaining ~ 30% of the variability across children. Indeed, all children diagnosed before 30-months of age exhibited moderate-to-severe language delays. These results further substantiate the prominence of language delay as a highly visible symptom associated with earlier ASD diagnosis in community clinical settings.
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Early diagnosis, delayed diagnosis
- Language delay
- Speech delay
- Symptom severity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology