By the time they are typically detected, neurodevelopmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are already challenging to treat. Preventive and early intervention strategies in infancy are critical for improving outcomes over the lifespan with significant cost savings. However, the impact of prevention and early intervention efforts is dependent upon our ability to identify infants most appropriate for such interventions. Because there may be significant overlap between prodromal symptoms across neurodevelopmental disorders and child psychopathology more broadly which may wax and wane across development, we contend that the impact of prevention and early intervention efforts will be heightened by identifying early indicators that may overlap across ASD and other commonly co-occurring disorders. This paper summarizes the existing literature on infant symptoms and identification of ASD to demonstrate the ways in which a transdiagnostic perspective could expand the impact of early identification and intervention research and clinical efforts, and to outline suggestions for future empirical research programs addressing current gaps in the identification-to-treatment pipeline. We propose four recommendations for future research that are both grounded in developmental and clinical science and that are scalable for early intervention systems: (1) development of fine-grained, norm-referenced measures of ASD-relevant transdiagnostic behavioral domains; (2) identification of shared and distinct mechanisms influencing the transition from risk to disorder; (3) determination of key cross-cutting treatment strategies (both novel and extracted from existing approaches) effective in targeting specific domains across disorders; and (4) integration of identified measures and treatments into existing service systems.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology|
|State||Published - 2020|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology