A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Summer, 2021 | Number 3, Volume 35

Perinatal stroke significantly increases risk for ASD diagnosis

Children who suffer strokes around the time of birth have an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to a new study. The study also found that these children receive an ASD diagnosis later than children in the general population. 

Using a stroke registry maintained by a medical facility, Taralee Hamner and colleagues identified patients with a history of perinatal stroke. They then performed a retrospective chart review of 201 cases to analyze the children’s outcomes. 

The researchers say that 23 children, or more than 11%, were formally diagnosed with ASD. “First concerns were noted in toddlerhood,” they say, “yet the average age of diagnosis was 6.26 years.” The children diagnosed with ASD were more likely than other children with a history of perinatal stroke to have earlier diagnoses of intellectual disability, global developmental delay, or a mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, but there was no difference between the groups when it came to diagnoses of cerebral palsy, hemiplegia (one-sided paralysis), or epilepsy. The risk for ASD increased with accumulating diagnoses. 

The researchers also found that children with a history of perinatal stroke received an autism diagnosis almost two years later than children in the general population and three and a half years after parents first expressed concerns. They comment, “Clinicians must be aware of increased prevalence and implement screening as part of routine care for all pediatric patients with perinatal stroke.”


“Children with perinatal stroke are at increased risk for autism spectrum disorder: Prevalence and co-occurring conditions within a clinically followed sample,” Taralee Hamner, Evelyn Shih, Rebecca Ichord, and Lauren Krivitzky, The Clinical Neuropsychologist, July 24, 2021 (online ahead of print publication). Address: Lauren Krivitzky, [email protected].