Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are believed to share partially overlapping causal mechanisms suggesting that early risk markers may also overlap. Using latent profile analysis (LPA) in a sample of infants enriched for ASD and ADHD, we first examined the number of distinct groups of 3-year-old children, based on ADHD and ASD symptomatology. To investigate early predictors of ASD and ADHD symptom profiles, we next examined differences in trajectories of infant behaviors among the LPA classes spanning general development, negative affect, attention, activity level, impulsivity, and social behavior. Participants included 166 infants at familial risk for ASD (n = 89), ADHD (n = 38), or low-risk for both (n = 39) evaluated at 12, 18, 24, and 36 months of age. A three-class solution was selected reflecting a Typically Developing (TD) class (low symptoms; n = 108), an ADHD class (high ADHD/low ASD symptoms; n = 39), and an ASD class (high ASD/ADHD symptoms; n = 19). Trajectories of infant behaviors were generally suggestive of a gradient pattern of differences, with the greatest impairment within the ASD class followed by the ADHD class. These findings indicate a mixture of overlapping and distinct early markers of preschool ASD- A nd ADHD-like profiles that can be difficult to disentangle early in life.
- early childhood
- latent profile analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health