Apraxia a Common Occurrence in Autism, Study Finds Speech-language pathologists may already have seen it in their work, but now research finds evidence that it’s true: Autism and apraxia frequently coincide, according to findings from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The three-year study, published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, showed that nearly ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   September 01, 2015
Apraxia a Common Occurrence in Autism, Study Finds
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Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   September 01, 2015
Apraxia a Common Occurrence in Autism, Study Finds
The ASHA Leader, September 2015, Vol. 20, 18. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.20092015.18
The ASHA Leader, September 2015, Vol. 20, 18. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.20092015.18
Speech-language pathologists may already have seen it in their work, but now research finds evidence that it’s true: Autism and apraxia frequently coincide, according to findings from the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
The three-year study, published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, showed that nearly two-thirds of children initially diagnosed with autism also had apraxia, and also found that the Checklist for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) does not over-diagnose autism in children with apraxia.

The three-year study showed that nearly two-thirds of children initially diagnosed with autism also had apraxia, and that the Checklist for Autism Spectrum Disorders does not over-diagnose autism in children with apraxia.

“CASD is used to diagnose autism, but it can also be used to rule out autism,” says Cheryl Tierney, associate professor of pediatrics. “We wanted to make sure this tool came out negative in a child that just had apraxia and we found that it really does help us distinguish kids accurately.”
Tierney’s team studied 30 children, 15 months to 5 years old, referred to the Penn State Hershey Pediatric Developmental Communication Assessment Clinic for concerns regarding speech, language or autism.
Each child in the study underwent a diagnostic screen before a follow-up test; results showed 64 percent of participants originally diagnosed with autism also had apraxia, and 37 percent originally diagnosed with apraxia also had autism.
Twenty-three percent of the children had both conditions during the first diagnosis. Another 23 percent had neither condition.
The CASD, developed by Penn State College of Medicine’s Susan Mayes, diagnosed autism accurately in 95 percent of children with apraxia, the authors found, after testing it against two other autism assessments and two other apraxia assessments.
The findings make the case for continued screenings for children with apraxia and autism, especially those who are nonverbal, to give them a better chance of receiving appropriate early intervention.
2 Comments
January 25, 2016
Melanie Kahn
Full article
Could ASHA offer members a copy of this full article?
January 25, 2016
Haley Blum
Response
Hi Melanie, Thanks for your interest in this research brief. The full article is available online for purchase through the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics: http://journals.lww.com/jrnldbp/Abstract/2015/10000/How_Valid_Is_the_Checklist_for_Autism_Spectrum.3.aspx I hope this helps! -Haley Blum Writer/Editor, The ASHA Leader
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September 2015
Volume 20, Issue 9