Psychological and biological correlates of adaptive behaviour in children with autism spectrum disorders in multidisciplinary insight (APVV 20-0139)

Principal investigator: doc. MUDr. Katarína Babinská, PhD.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by lifelong impairments in social interaction, communication and by stereotyped behaviour and interests. Due to the severity of manifestations, increasing prevalence and absence of causal therapy, ASD are considered a serious medical and social problem. The aetiology is elucidated only partially, genetic and environmental factors are involved. No biomarker of ASD is known, the diagnosis is based on a interprofessional comprehensive examination, where psychological examination plays an important role.

The project is aimed at investigation of adaptive behaviour and cognitive abilities in ASD. Their evaluation will be a part of the diagnostic procedure in the forthcoming revision of the International Classification of Diseases ICD-11. The project will also investigate associations between psychological and biological characteristics of ASD with the aim to reveal biological correlates of behavioural manifestations, and to identify possible pathomechanisms and potential biomarkers.

The main objectives are:

  • To identify the developmental trajectory of adaptive behaviour in children with ASD with respect to age and gender, severity of ASD core symptoms, and executive functions.
  • To analyse gender differences in the triad of impairments and adaptive behaviour in ASD. To evaluate strengths and weaknesses of girls with ASD and to identify possible compensation mechanisms.
  • To investigate a set of biological indicators in individuals with ASD possibly involved in pathomechanisms: gut microbiota, inflammation, sleep disorders and their markers, genetic, metabolic and hormonal factors of ASD.
  • To identify the developmental trajectory of adaptive behaviour in children with ASD controlled for age, gender and executive functions.
  • To perform evaluation of psychometric parameters of the Slovak translation of the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale 3 (VABS 3) in general population of Slovak children.