Two community-based cohorts of children with autism spectrum disorder, examined using similar assessment protocols, were pooled (n = 301) and subdivided according to history of regression. Those with regression (n = 62), 20.5% of the combined cohort, were contrasted with those without regression (n = 241) at first assessment (age range 19-60 months) and at 2-year follow-up on a range of measures. The regression group was significantly more functionally impaired, with regard to intellectual function (p < .001), language development (p < .001), and to severity of autism (p < .01) at both T1 and T2. Only 14 (23.3%) had a clearly identified underlying etiology [24 (18.6%) in the non-regressive group]. There were no significant differences between those who had regressed 'from normal' and those who had regressed 'from low' functioning.
Keywords: ASD; Autism; Developmental language disorder; Intellectual developmental disorder; Non-regressive autism; Regressive autism.