To examine longitudinally the adaptive behavior patterns in fragile X syndrome.
Caregivers of 275 children and adolescents with fragile X syndrome and 225 typically developing children and adolescents (2–18 years) were interviewed with the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales every 2 to 4 years as part of a prospective longitudinal study.
Standard scores of adaptive behavior in people with fragile X syndrome are marked by a significant decline over time in all domains for males and in communication for females. Socialization skills are a relative strength as compared with the other domains for males with fragile X syndrome. Females with fragile X syndrome did not show a discernible pattern of developmental strengths and weaknesses.
This is the first large-scale longitudinal study to show that the acquisition of adaptive behavior slows as individuals with fragile X syndrome age. It is imperative to ensure that assessments of adaptive behavior skills are part of intervention programs focusing on childhood and adolescence in this condition.