Childhood Academic Performance: A Potential Marker of Genetic Liability to Autism

Janna Guilfoyle, Molly Winston, John Sideris, Gary E. Martin, Kritika Nayar, Lauren Bush, Tom Wassink, Molly Losh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a heritable neurodevelopmental disorder, confers genetic liability that is often expressed among relatives through subclinical, genetically-meaningful traits, or endophenotypes. For instance, relative to controls, parents of individuals with ASD differ in language-related skills, with differences emerging in childhood. To examine ASD-related endophenotypes, this study investigated developmental academic profiles among clinically unaffected siblings of individuals with ASD (n = 29). Lower performance in language-related skills among siblings mirrored previously-reported patterns among parents, which were also associated with greater subclinical ASD-related traits in themselves and their parents, and with greater symptom severity in their sibling with ASD. Findings demonstrated specific phenotypes, derived from standardized academic testing, that may represent childhood indicators of genetic liability to ASD in first-degree relatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1989-2005
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Academics
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Broad autism phenotype
  • Endophenotype
  • Language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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