Problems in Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Irkutsk Region

Elena A. Tkachuk, Lyubov V. Rychkova

International Journal of Biomedicine. 2021;11(3):337-341.
DOI: 10.21103/Article11(3)_OA9
Originally published September 9, 2021


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of methods for studying the neuropsychiatric development of children in regards to screening for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with the example of educational institutions in the Irkutsk region.
Methods and Results: Two groups of children in educational institutions of the Irkutsk region regional center were studied: 187 children of preschool age (from 5 to 6 years) and 154 children studying at school (from 7 to 11 years). This study used the methods of neuropsychiatric research used by the pediatric service and the methods of screening diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It was shown that the level of obvious anxiety of schoolchildren (according to the scale developed by A.M. Prihozhan) was higher than in preschoolers and was 10.3±0.1% in girls and 10.6±0.2% in boys. Bad appetite was observed in 50.3±3.7% of preschool children and in 56.5±4.0% of schoolchildren. The selective appetite was observed in 16.6±2.7% of preschool children and in 7.1±2.1% of schoolchildren. The study of hyperactive traits showed that only 5.3±1.6% of parents of preschool children noted hyperactivity in their children while educators considered that 22.5±3.1% were hyperactive. The parents noted hyperactivity in 9.7±2.4% of children, and the teachers noted hyperactivity in 21.7±3.4% of children. The intellectual development of children, according to the Raven test, showed that the average IQ was observed in 47.6±3.7% preschoolers, and below-average IQ in 52.9±3.7% preschoolers. At the same time in schoolchildren, below-average IQ was found in 48.7±4.0% and average IQ in 51.3±4.0%.
Conclusion: The study of the development of children’s mental processes and behavior is not informative for the early detection of ASD. Likewise, the screening methods for the detection of ASD known today and available to the pediatric service and based on the detection of social and communication disorders are poorly informative. However, if we consider ASD as a manifestation of genetic and cytogenetic pathology, we should look for screening methods in the field of genetics.

autism spectrum disorders • screening methods • neuropsychiatric development
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Received July 13, 2021.
Accepted August 13, 2021.
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