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Chuck J. Conlon, MD, FAAP Director of Developmental Pediatrics

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Presentation on theme: "Chuck J. Conlon, MD, FAAP Director of Developmental Pediatrics"— Presentation transcript:

1 Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): Identification & Management including “Co-Morbidities”
Chuck J. Conlon, MD, FAAP Director of Developmental Pediatrics Children’s National Medical Center

2 ASD Objectives Discuss early indicators & importance of early identification Explain current practice guidelines from AAP & AAN Discuss medical management of common behavioral disturbances (co-morbidities) in children with ASD

3 Autism Spectrum Disorders: Overview I
Prevalence 1 to 2….to 6 per 1,000 children Is there a rise in incidence? If so why? Neurobiologic disorder with question of environmental triggers First described in the 1940s; Drs Kanner & Asperger 6 to 10% recurrence rate in families

4 Autism Spectrum Disorders: Overview II
Characterized by deficits in 3 domains i.e., communication, social interactions, restricted, repetitive & ritualistic behaviors Must meet DSM IV Diagnostic Criteria Onset prior to 3 years of age for Autism Rule out medical causes

5 Autism Spectrum Disorders: Classification
Autistic Disorder Rett’s Disorder Childhood Disintegrative Disorder Asperger’s Disorder Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Not Otherwise Specified

6 Early Indicators of Autism Social Interaction “Flags”
Less responsive to social overtures i.e., hard to reach Less participation in reciprocal play Less “showing off” for attention Less imitation of the actions of others e.g., waving good-bye Less interested in other children (self-directed play)

7 Early Indicators of Autism Communication Deficits
Less communication to direct another person’s attention e.g., hold up object to show Less use of gestures i.e., proto-imperative & proto-declarative pointing Less use of eye contact during interactions Inconsistent response to sounds

8 Early Indicators of Autism Repetitive & Restricted Behavior
Less functional play, especially with dolls or stuffed animals e.g., feeds with a spoon Less imaginative play….often imitative from favorite videos or books Repetitive motor behaviors e.g., spinning hand flapping, finger flicking, “sifting” Unusual visual interests

9 Early Indicators of Autism Red Flags (AAN, 2000)
No babbling, pointing or other gestures by 12 months No single words by 16 months No meaningful 2-word phrases by 2 years ANY loss of ANY language or social skills at ANY age

10 Autism Spectrum Disorders Benefits of Early Id
Early identification leads to early intervention Helps families to understand their child and advocate for services Early intervention can lead to improved cognitive function, communication, as well as enhanced peer interactions and decreased behavioral difficulties Early intervention study for children with ASD < 3 years: Dr Landa at or

11 ASD: Published Guidelines
AAP; Committee on Children with Disabilites 2001 (Pediatrics, 107(5): ) American Academy of Neurology & Child Neurology Society (Filipek et al., 2000 Neurology, 55: ) CAN Consensus Statement (Geschwind et al., 1998, CNS Spectrums, 3:

12 Integration of Recommendations from Guidelines on ASD I
Developmental surveillance and screening Best screening - PARENTAL CONCERN but lack of parental concern does not r/o disorder Referral to community resources i.e., ITP/PIE/CF Diagnosis best by multidisciplinary team BUT availability is limited & waiting lists are long Single subspecialty providers e.g., dev peds, child neurologist, child psychologist/psychiatrist

13 Inegration of Recommendations from Guidelines on ASD II
Evaluation of cognitive and adaptive skills Comprehensive eval of communication including higher order language function i.e., semantic & pragmatic language (Infant Rosetti; CASL or Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language) Audiological evaluation Other medical work-up

14 ASD: Medical Evaluation
Genetic studies: high resolution karyotype, DNA probe for Fragile X, FISH studies in children with MR, dysmorphic facies or + FH Metabolic screening: plasma amino acids, urine organic acids, urine metabolic screen (as above and/or lethargy, cyclic vomiting, early seizures) Others….lead, etc EEG if regression, seizures, significant staring spells or child is nonverbal CT scan or MRI usually not indicated even with megalencephaly

15 ASD: Role of Primary Care Provider
The Medical Home (Pediatrics 2002, 110: 184 to 186); care coordination/”screen” Provide early identification & referral to community based programs for treatment Referral to medical subspecialists for further evaluation, diagnosis & treatment Provide parent education and support

16 ASD: Educational Programs
Should facilitate functional communication, social skills, learning and improve behavior Vary in philosophy, curricula and strategies “Autism Programs” – reduced ratio classes to work on joint attention, imitation, etc. TEACCH- classroom & parent training Applied behavioral analysis, discrete trials (Lovaas method)

17 ASD: Additional Treatments
Behavioral support (ABCs of Behavior) Social & pragmatic language skills training Family support, i.e. education, respite, parent groups Medications Complimentary & alternative interventions

18 ASD: Family Support Respite options in the community e.g., McLean Bible Church Saturday program, CARD, Autism Society of America or ASA (parent groups, “Advocate”, etc.) Websites ASA: Families for Early Autism Tx: Yale Child Center:

19 ASD: Medication Management
Identify target symptoms or indications Need for Functional Behavioral Analysis Research is VERY limited/small sample size Medication responsive problems “Attention” disorder; internal or external Anxiety & obsessive compulsive symptoms Aggression/tantrums/self-injurious behaviors Sleep difficulties/ Appetitie or feeding issues

20 ASD: Hyperactive/ADHD Sxs
Overactivity, inattention, impulsivity – not universal Heterogenous response to stimulants Subset will show increased irritability, hyperactivity, stereotypic behaviors & agitation (adverse events are short lived) Start very low, titrate slowly

21 ASD: Hyperactive/ADHD Sxs
Stimulants (RUPP study underway studying MPH) e.g., concerta 18mg: focalin 1.25 to 2.5 mg; metadate CD 5 to 10 mg, etc Alpha adrenergic agonists e.g., clonidine 0.025mg 2 to 3x/day; tenex 0.25 to 0.5 mg qhs…then bid Strattera 0.5 mg/kg/day & titrate slowly Others: atypical/typical antipsychotics, anafranil, naltrexone, wellbutrin

22 ASD: Anxiety/Perseveration(OCD)
SSRIs e.g., luvox, prozac, zoloft, celexa, lexapro, paxil as well as anafranil Luvox in adults (DB/PC) reduced repetitive thoughts, behaviors, & aggression; may improve language/social skills – 6.25 to 12.5mg & titrate up Open-label trials: prozac, zoloft, buspar Subset will have increased activity/impulsivity Anxiolytics: ativan (dental work), xanax

23 ASD: Disruptive & Irritable Behaviors
Tantrums, aggression, self-injury, agitation, screaming, rigidity Atypical antipsychotics: risperdal, zyprexia, seroquel, geodon, abilify McCracken et al (NEJM;2002;347:314-21) Risperdal improved behaviors in 69% vs placebo in 11.5%; extrapyramidal sxs/tardive dyskinesia rare unless on medicationfor many years Watch weight! Monitor FBS/HgbA1C/lipids Start 0.25 mg 1 to 2X/day & titrate

24 ASD: Sleep Importance of developing good sleep “hygiene” or routine
Medications as an adjunct Antihistamines such as Benadryl Other meds: clonidine (0.025 – 0.05mg), remeron (7.5mg), trazodone (12.5mg) Melatonin 0.5 mg (physiologic dose) Increase by 0.5 mg every 4 to 5 nights up to 3 - 6mg

25 ASD: Appetitie/Feeding Issues
Often behaviorally based on color, texture, smell Prevent food “jags” i.e., zip lock bags, vary food preparations, etc. Appetite enhancer: periactin 4mg qhs to 4mg 2 to 3x/day Appetitie suppressor: topamax 7.5 to 15 mg

26 ASD: Complimentary Interventions I
Anecdotal studies, single-subject trials,nonrandomized designs & non-placebo-controlled studies Vit B6 and Mg –? sensory neuropathy DMG/TMG (Di-/Trimethylglycine) Vit C – inhibits central DA; dec stereotypies Vit A – improve immune function

27 ASD: Complimentary Interventions II
Casein and gluten free diets i.e., “Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis; Secretin – 6 clincal trials, PC – no effect Chelation – DSMA has liver & kidney potential toxicities Auditory integration therapy MMR

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