Assessment and support for children with dual diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder


  • A. Krieger
  • E. Devouche
  • N. Nader-Grosbois
  • J. Adrien


Backgroung: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is still rarely identified in children with Down’s syndrome (DS). However, specific autism diagnostic assessment have shown good sensitivity for detecting ASD in this population. DS is associated with mental retardation and with social, communicative and behavioural impairment making the dual diagnosis (DS-ASD) difficult. The lack of diagnosis deprives young children of an early and appropriate behavioural and developmental support. This study aimed to identify the specificities in the cognitive and socio-emotional development of young children with a dual diagnosis. Methods: The cognitive and socio-emotional development of participants was assessed using the Socio-emotional and Cognitive Evaluation Battery. A Principal Component Analysis was performed on the scores of eighteen children with a dual diagnosis, twenty-five children with DS and twenty-one children with ASD. Findings: On the one hand, the results highlight the existence of specific developmental profile in children with dual diagnosis DS-ASD compared to children with DS. On the other hand, the developmental characteristics of children with DS-ASD do not differ from children with ASD. Discussion: This study offers a better knowledge of the developmental characteristics of children with dual diagnosis DS-ASD. Thus, it allows to propose personalized support for these children. Moreover, the results appeal to professional caregivers for increasing their awareness regarding the importance of early recognition of this dual diagnosis. It appears justified to evaluate ASD in young children with DS and to consider it as a primary disorder so as to offer them a more adapted evaluation, intervention and support.





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