Risperidone and adaptive behavior in children with autism

Susan K. Williams, Lawrence Scahill, Benedetto Vitiello, Michael G. Aman, L. Eugene Arnold, Christopher J. McDougle, James T. McCracken, Elaine Tierney, Louise Ritz, David J. Posey, Naomi B. Swiezy, Jill Hollway, Pegeen Cronin, Jaswinder Ghuman, Courtney Wheeler, Domenic Cicchetti, Sara Sparrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the impact of risperidone on adaptive behavior in children with autistic disorder who have serious behavior problems and to examine different methods of scoring the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales to measure change. Method: Forty-eight children (5 years to 16 years, 5 months) who showed behavioral improvement during acute treatment with risperidone were followed for 6 months and assessed with the Vineland Scales. Results: Raw scores, age-equivalents, and special norm percentile scores all showed significant increases in adaptive behavior in the areas of communication, daily living skills, and socialization (p < .01). During a period of 6 to 8 months, children gained an average of 7.8 age-equivalent months in the area of socialization, a >6% improvement beyond what would be expected based on baseline growth rates. Conclusions: Although limited by the absence of a control group, these results suggest that risperidone may improve adaptive skills in children with autistic disorder accompanied by serious behavioral problems. Vineland age-equivalent scores appear to be most useful in assessing change with treatment over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Autism
  • Risperidone
  • Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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