Health-Related Quality of Life in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Children with Language Impairments

Catherine Coales, Natalie Heaney, Jessie Ricketts, Julie E. Dockrell, Geoff Lindsay, Olympia Palikara, Tony Charman

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Background and Aims: There is a paucity of literature investigating health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in neurodevelopmental populations including children with language impairment (LI) and children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). HRQoL in these two groups remains poorly understood and has not previously been compared. Furthermore, studies have mainly not explored this using self-report measures, often relying on reports from caregivers and teachers. The aim of the current study is to compare the levels and profiles of self-reported HRQoL of LI children and ASD children sampled from the same mainstream schools.
Methods: Cross-sectional data on HRQoL, school placement and child characteristics: receptive language ability; severity of ASD symptoms; Non-Verbal IQ (NVIQ); level of emotional and behavioural symptoms; and age. Self-reported HRQoL was measured using the KIDSCREEN-52. Data was collected from a sample of 114 six-to-twelve-year old children with LI (N=63) and children with ASD (N=51) attending mainstream school but with identified special educational needs.
Results: Children with LI reported HRQoL in-line with normative ranges, with the exception of two of the 10 dimensions; the Moods and Emotions domain and the Social acceptance/bullying domain. Children with ASD reported significantly poorer HRQoL compared to norms and the LI group. School placement and child characteristics showed few associations with dimensions of HRQoL for both groups.
Conclusions: Children with ASD may be vulnerable to poorer HRQoL and the relevant professionals need to be aware of this. Children with LI exhibit a profile of HRQoL more in-line with average ranges. However, certain problematic domains warrant monitoring and may benefit from intervention. Further research into contextual factors may elucidate risk/protective factors of HRQoL in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

© 2019, The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Apr 2019

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