Assessment of cognition and language in the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder: usefulness of the Bayley Scales of infant and toddler development, third edition

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BackgroundThe aim of this study was to test the usefulness of the Cognitive and Language scales Bayley-III in the early assessment of cognitive and language functions in the context of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. This paper focuses on the application of the Bayley-III and studies the predictive value of the test result in children with ASD with different levels of verbal ability.MethodA sample of 135 children (121 boys, 14 girls) with a confirmed ASD diagnosis at age 4 years were assessed with the Bayley-III before 42 months of age (m = 36.49, s = 4.46) and later with other rating scales of different psychological and psycholinguistic functions as part of a longitudinal study [McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA) (n = 48, 90% boys), Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC) (n = 38, 87% boys) or Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA) (n = 44, 89% boys)]. Age assessment in months: MSCA (m = 48.80, s = 3.33), K-ABC (m = 51.80, s = 7.17) and ITPA (m = 54.48, s = 3.34).ResultsLower scores on the cognitive and language Bayley-III scales before 3.5 years of age predicted lower cognitive and oral language levels at 4 years of age. A significant correlation was found between the Cognitive Bayley-III Scale and the General Cognitive MSCA Scale, and with the Compound K-ABC Mental Processing. An association between the nonverbal cognitive level and oral language level acquired at 4 years of age was found.ConclusionsThe Bayley-III is a useful instrument in cognitive and language assessment of ASD.

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