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Brief Report: The Broad Autism Phenotype in Swedish Parents of Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Conditions
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Neurobiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Neurobiology.
Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, India.
Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Neurobiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1904-5554
2022 (English)In: Journal of autism and developmental disorders, ISSN 0162-3257, E-ISSN 1573-3432, Vol. 52, no 10, p. 4575-4582Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The broad autism phenotype (BAP) is a set of characteristics often observed in typically developing people with a genetic load for autism, such as parents of autistic children. The Broad Autism Phenotypic Questionnaire (BAPQ) is a 36-item questionnaire developed to identify the BAP in first-degree relatives of autistic people. We translated the BAPQ into Swedish and examined its psychometric properties in a Swedish sample consisting of 45 parents of children with ASC and 74 parents of non-autistic children. We found support for the original 3-factor structure (aloof, pragmatic language and rigid), good internal consistency and convergent validity with the Autism Quotient. Thus, the Swedish BAPQ exhibits acceptable psychometric properties and may be useful for assessing the BAP in non-clinical populations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer-Verlag New York, 2022. Vol. 52, no 10, p. 4575-4582
Keywords [en]
Developmental and Educational Psychology
National Category
Other Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-178871DOI: 10.1007/s10803-021-05302-3ISI: 000703955100001PubMedID: 34609695Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85116435974OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-178871DiVA, id: diva2:1605029
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research CouncilSwedish Research CouncilEuropean Commission [2018-02131]

Available from: 2021-10-21 Created: 2021-10-21 Last updated: 2024-06-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Beyond Categories: A Dimensional Approach to Autism and Sensorimotor Differences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond Categories: A Dimensional Approach to Autism and Sensorimotor Differences
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) encompass a range of sensory, motor, and social-communicative differences, reflecting the considerable heterogeneity within the autism spectrum. This diversity underscores the limitations of categorical diagnostic approaches, which often fail to capture the individualized manifestations of autism. Advances in genetics and neuroscience have driven a shift towards dimensional frameworks that emphasize the spectrum nature of autism and the broad autism phenotype (BAP). BAP encapsulates subclinical traits that mirror those of autism in the general population, challenging the conventional boundaries between clinical and non-clinical populations. Furthermore, sensorimotor differences, which are particularly prevalent in individuals with ASC, follow a spectrum-like pattern similar to the BAP and are predictive of developmental outcomes related to social participation, communication, and overall quality of life in people with and without ASC. However, specific descriptions of these relationships are lacking.

This dissertation investigated the complex relationships between sensorimotor differences and autistic traits (ATs). Through a series of five interconnected studies, we examined broad sensory processing patterns and specific sensory modalities, namely auditory processing and motor/proprioception, to explore their roles in autistic phenotypes.

Study 1 of the dissertation validated a Swedish translation of the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ). By examining parents' BAP traits, the study highlighted significant associations between higher ATs and having a child with ASC. Furthermore, it confirmed the presence of all three AT domains—social interaction (ATSOC), communication (ATCOM), and cognitive rigidity (ATRIG), reinforcing the genetic and phenotypic continuity between clinical and subclinical ATs.

Study 2 and Study 3 served as broader investigations into all seven sensory modalities and their associations with ATs. Study 2 explored these modality-specific associations, using Bayesian stochastic search variable selection (SSVS) and dominance analysis. This study highlighted auditory processing difficulties as the most consistent predictor of all three AT domains. Additionally, proprioceptive and tactile processing difficulties were specifically associated with ATCOM and ATSOC, respectively.

Study 3 extended this analysis to a developing population, focusing on the relationship between sensorimotor processing, ATs, and anxiety in children aged 6-11 years. Identical to Study 2, we found tactile symptoms as a predictor of ATSOC, proprioceptive symptoms for ATCOM, and auditory symptoms for ATRIG. In addition, olfactory symptoms were selected as a predictor of ATCOM, and motor coordination was a consistent predictor of all AT domains. Using SSVS, this study also identified that auditory and olfactory processing difficulties were strong predictors of anxiety symptoms.

Building on the previous studies, Study 4 narrowed the focus to auditory processing differences, investigating specific auditory problems and their associations with the AT domains. All AT domains significantly predicted affective reactions to sounds, while difficulties with speech perception, spatial perception, and auditory stream segregation were most strongly predicted by ATCOM.

Study 5 focused on the previously found links between motor coordination and proprioceptive processing and ATCOM. Using causal mediation analysis within a counterfactual framework, this study found that cerebellar error correction deficits, measured through a finger tapping task, significantly impacted ATCOM through motor skills in childhood.

Together, this dissertation provides a comprehensive overview of the sensory processing dimensions related to the core AT domains. Specifically, the studies underscored the clinical significance of monitoring auditory and olfactory complaints in children, as these were predictive of anxiety, and emphasized that early motor deficits impact social communication development. The findings advocate for the inclusion of detailed sensory and motor assessments in neurodevelopmental evaluations to identify children at risk for poor mental health outcomes. Future research should continue to explore the mechanisms underlying sensory processing differences. Particular focus should be placed on auditory and motor/proprioceptive functions and their contributions to ATs and clinical outcomes, such as anxiety. Emphasis should also be given to longitudinal studies that track these relationships over time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2024. p. 94
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1902
Keywords
Broad autistic phenotype, Sensory processing, Central auditory, Processing disorder, Childhood motor skills, Social pragmatic language
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-205601 (URN)10.3384/9789180755467 (DOI)9789180755450 (ISBN)9789180755467 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-08-30, Berzeliussalen, Building 463, Campus US, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-06-27 Created: 2024-06-27 Last updated: 2024-06-28Bibliographically approved

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Bang, PeterIgelström, Kajsa

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