Level of functioning in autism spectrum disorders: phenotypic congruence among affected siblings

J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Jul;38(6):1019-27. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0476-z. Epub 2007 Oct 30.


Little evidence supports that siblings with autism exhibit the same behaviors; however, some findings suggest that level of functioning shows familial aggregation. We tested this notion among multiplex families participating with the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) Consortium, using scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (N = 204 families), the Ravens Colored Progressive Matrices (N = 226 families), and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (N = 348 families). Intraclass Correlation Coefficients revealed that siblings with autism/autism spectrum disorders (ASD) were more similar on measures of verbal and nonverbal IQ and adaptive functioning than were unrelated children with autism/ASD. Preliminary twin correlations indicated strong genetic effects for some skill domains and the influence of shared environmental factors for others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics*
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Diseases in Twins / diagnosis
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics*
  • Diseases in Twins / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Intelligence / genetics
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phenotype*
  • Socialization
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics
  • Twins, Dizygotic / psychology
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics
  • Twins, Monozygotic / psychology