Standard scale identifies anxiety in children with autism

A widely used questionnaire designed to measure anxiety flags the condition in children with autism, two studies suggest.

The test, called the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale, is established for use in typical children. Its 38 questions assess six types of anxiety: generalized anxiety; panic and a fear of open spaces; fear of physical injury and specific phobias; social anxiety; obsessive-compulsive disorder; and separation anxiety.

Roughly 40 percent of children with autism have anxiety, compared with about 25 percent of typical children3. Yet anxiety is notoriously challenging to diagnose in children with autism, as it can manifest differently than in typical children. Certain autism features, such as social difficulties, can also masquerade as anxiety.

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14th July 2017