Autistic behavior in young boys with fragile X syndrome

J Autism Dev Disord. 1998 Dec;28(6):499-508. doi: 10.1023/a:1026048027397.


A sample of 57 boys with fragile X syndrome (fraX) between the ages of 24 and 133 months was rated using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) to assess the extent to which autism and autistic features were evident in a young population. Fourteen subjects (approximately 25% of the sample) scored above the cutoff for autism, suggesting a relatively high incidence of autistic behavior. All but 2 of these 14 were in the mildly or moderately autistic range, however, and only a few items received severe ratings, suggesting that severe autism is relatively rare in fraX, at least during the early years. The CARS resulted in a continuum of autistic ratings in the fraX population, but no particular items on the CARS contributed disproportionately to autism ratings. A visual comparison of ratings on an autistic, non-fraX sample revealed similar profiles of ratings, suggesting that differentiating fraX and autism on the basis of CARS ratings is not likely. Within the fraX group, chronological age and socioeconomic status did not correlate with CARS ratings, but severity of delay was strongly related, such that more severely delayed children scored higher (more autistic) on the CARS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fragile X Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results