Social disadvantage and developmental diagnosis in pre-schoolers.

Authors: Kayrouz N, Milne SL, McDonald JL


J Paediatr Child Health. 2017 Apr 11;:

AIM: To explore the association between social disadvantage and developmental diagnoses in pre-school children.
METHODS: Between 2012 and 2015, 845 pre-school children were assessed by the Child Assessment Team at Campbelltown Hospital. A social worker interviewed 469 families and these children were eligible for inclusion in the study. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was confirmed in 290 children. Of those without ASD, 72 did not have global developmental delay (GDD) and were excluded from the study. The remaining 107 children with GDD were used as the comparison group. Social risk factors in the two groups were compared using χ (2) tests. Variables with statistical significance were then entered into a logistic regression.
RESULTS: After logistic regression, children with ASD were more likely to be male (odds ratio (OR) 3.1, 95% CI 0.195-0.529; P < 0.001) and their parents were more likely to have a clinically significant stress score (OR 1.3, 95% CI 0.334-0.992; P = 0.047). Children with GDD were more likely to live in a disadvantaged suburb (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.042-2.940; P = 0.034), more likely to have a sole parent (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.062-3.082; P = 0.029) and much more likely to have had involvement with child protection services (OR 3.9, 95% CI 2.044-7.416; P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Children with GDD without autism were more likely to be disadvantaged and to have had contact with child protection services than children with ASD. This has implications for the assessment, early intervention and support services for children with disabilities and their families.



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