Longitudinal examination of the behavioral, language, and social changes in a population of adolescents and young adults with autistic disorder

Karen Ballaban-Gil, Isabelle Rapin, Roberto Tuchman, Shlomo Shinnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

133 Scopus citations


This follow-up study evaluates the behavioral, language, and social outcomes in a population of autistic patients initially examined in childhood. We evaluated 102 (63%) of the 163 eligible subjects, including 54 adolescents (1217 years of age) and 45 adults (≤18 years of age). Three patients had died in the interim. Behavior difficulties continued to be a problem in 69% of adolescents and adults. Thirty-five percent of adolescents and 49% of adults engaged in self-injurious behavior, and slightly more than 50% of adolescents and adults exhibited some stereotypic behaviors. Over 90% of both adolescents and adults had persisting social deficits. Language improved with age, although only 35% achieved normal or near-normal fluency. Comprehension also improved, although only 29% of subjects had achieved normal or near-normal comprehension of oral language. At the time of last follow-up, 28% of all patients and 53% of adults were living in residential placement. Only 11% of adults were employed on the open market, all in menial jobs; an additional 16% were employed in sheltered workshops. The social, behavioral, and language deficits identified in early life in autistic children tend to persist into adolescence and young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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