Prediction of childhood problems at three years in children experiencing disorders of regulation during infancy
The objective of this study was to determine if symptoms of regulatory disorder (RD) during infancy were related to clinical status at three years. Two age-matched RD groups based on severity (N = 10 in mild RD group; N = 22 in moderate–severe RD group) and an age-matched control group (N = 38) were evaluated at 7 and 30 months. A fourth group with pervasive developmental disorders (N = 18) also were tested. Problems with self-regulation, including sleep, feeding, state control, self-calming, sensory reactivity, mood regulation, and emotional and behavioral control, were documented during infancy. Children were retested at 36 months in their development, behavior, and play. Two child psychiatrists unfamiliar with the subjects' diagnostic classification during infancy provided diagnoses at 36 months. At 36 months, 60% of children with mild regulatory disorders did not meet criteria for any disorders, while 95% of infants with moderate regulatory disorders had diagnoses that fell into two diagnostic clusters: (1) delays in motor, language, and cognitive development and (2) parent–child relational problems. Most toddlers in the pervasive developmental disorder group were diagnosed as having PDD or autism with mental retardation or borderline intelligence at 36 months. Early symptoms are discussed as they relate to later diagnostic outcomes for the clinical samples. © 2000 Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.