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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 52 (2010) 11, 753 - 761

Review article

Assessment of comorbidity in autism spectrum disorders

H.M. Geurts, L. Deprey, S. Ozonoff

background It is often difficult to determine whether there is psychiatric comorbidity in addition to an autism spectrum disorder (asd) or whether the observed behavior is described adequately by the asd diagnosis.
aim To show when the possibility of comorbidity needs to be seriously considered in children and adults with asd. We will focus on the most common comorbide disorders in children and adults with asd, namely anxiety, depression and adhd.
method Discussion of the literature and clinical experiences. results In order to diagnose asd and comorbidities it is important to record a detailed developmental history. This can also serve as a baseline for the client’s behaviour. Changes in the pattern of behaviour with respect to the baseline can often be indicative of the presence of a comorbid disorder.
conclusion Since asd is a life long disorder and comorbidity needing treatment or interventions can be present during various phases of life, the diagnostic procedure needs to continue even after asd has been diagnosed.

keywords assessment, autism, comorbidity, developmental history