Florina Rad1, Ilinca Mihailescu2, Alexandra Buică3*, Mihaela Stancu4, Emanuela Andrei2, Malvina Ionescu5, Iuliana Dobrescu6
1 Lecturer, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”, Primary Doctor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Prof. Dr. Alex. Obregia” Psychiatry Hospital, Bucharest, Romania.
2 Specialist Doctor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Prof. Dr. Alex. Obregia” Psychiatry Hospital, Bucharest, Romania.
3 Specialist Doctor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Grigore Alexandrescu” Children’s Emergency Hospital.
4 Assistant Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, University of Medicine and Pharmacy „Carol Davila”, Bucharest.
5 Resident Doctor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, „Prof. Dr.Alex. Obregia” Psychiatry Hospital, Bucharest, Romania.
6 Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, University of Medicine and Pharmacy „Carol Davila”, Primary Doctor in Neuropsychiatry, “Prof. Dr. Alex. Obregia” Psychiatry Hospital, Bucharest
Background. In an attempt to find genetic explanations for the heterogeneous characteristics of autistic patients, research has shown that parents of autistic children are more likely than parents of neurotypical children to exhibit autistic-like characteristics, meeting the criteria for the so-called “broad autism phenotype” . Subclinical autistic traits have been identified in the families of children with ASD, in both fathers and mothers, but the way in which specific parental phenotypes influence the child’s pathology remains unclear.
Methods. This study aimed to analyse the progress that a group of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have made during a behavioural therapy programme and the way their evolution has been influenced by the parents’ systemizing level. 52 participants (aged 2 to 5 years old) diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and both of their parents were included in the study. The severity of ASD symptomatology was assessed using the ADOS-G instrument, at the beginning of the study (T0) and after one year of behavioural therapy as well (T1), while the parents’ systemizing level was evaluated using the self-report Systemizing Quotient (SQ).
Results. The ADOS-G scores showed a significant improvement after one year of therapy in both Communication and Social Interaction domains. Only the fathers` systemizing level (SQF) had a significant effect on the ADOS-G scores after one year of therapy, with greater improvements reported for children having fathers with higher SQF scores.
Conclusion. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory. We consider that it’s particularly important to continue investigating the way that specific parents’ traits, including their systemizing level or their possible broad autism phenotype, can influence the severity of their children’s ASD or the outcome of the behavioural intervention.
Please cite this article as: Rad, F., Mihailescu, I., Buică, A., Stancu, M., Andrei, E., Ionescu, M., & Dobrescu, I. (2020). IS THE PROGRESS OF CHILDREN WITH ASD IN A BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY PROGRAMME INFLUENCED BY PARENTS’HYPER-SYSTEMIZING?. Journal of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies, 20(2).
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, childhood, parents’ systemizing level,
Published online: 2020/09/01
Published print: 2020/09/01