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Research group/lab  |  P.F.A. de Nijs, PhD

Autism Spectrum Disorder

We disentangle the autism spectrum phenotype using various diagnostic approaches, relate the core problems to frequent other problems, and explore developmental courses.

About our research group/lab

Our research

Background information

To improve screening and diagnostics, as well as to properly investigate the neurobiology and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, it is imperative to further clarify the heterogeneity within autism spectrum disorder.

Overall aim

Ultimately, our goal is to link phenotypic variability to variability in treatment outcome.

Research focus areas

All research is conducted within three  RCTss (ACCEPT, MOVING, DiSCoVR) and two clinical cohort studies (GAME and the Social Spectrum Study). 

Our projects

Cathing Up!?

The ‘towards the Genetics of Autism spectrum disorders Measuring Endophenotypes’ study is a follow-up study of 246 children and their parents who previously visited the Erasmus MC Sophia because of problems within the autism spectrum. At the first assessment wave (age 6-12) several behavioural and neuropsychological measures were assessed.  At the second assessment wave (age 12-18), all participants were re-evaluated. In addition, visual attention to social/emotional stimuli was investigated by using eye-tracking technology, and physiological reactivity was assessed simultaneously. Currently, a third assessment wave is in preparation.

Social Spectrum Study

The Social Spectrum Study is a multicenter study of referrals to 6 participating centres. A first assessment wave took place in 2011. In a first stage, all referrals were screened using several dimensional questionnaires. In a second stage, all screen positives underwent gold standard diagnostic procedures, and phenotypic variation and familial factors were assessed through questionnaires. Currently, a third assessment wave is in preparation.