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3 - Psychological factors in autism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2009

Margot Prior
Affiliation:
School of Behavioural Sciences, Melbourne University
Sally Ozonoff
Affiliation:
MIND Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of California
Fred R. Volkmar
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

Introduction

Reviewing psychological factors in autism presents a major challenge, given the vast amount of research that has accumulated over the past 50 years. In that time we have moved from largely speculative notions of what underlies the puzzling set of symptoms that children with autism present to us (Kanner, 1943) to a comprehensive knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses in a broad range of psychological domains. Our understanding of psychological factors has informed increasingly well-designed and productive approaches to the education and treatment of children with autism, so that theory and practice can build on each other in a synergistic way. This review of psychological aspects of autism is divided into sections covering the major domains of perception, cognition, affect, language, social behaviors, and neuropsychological factors.

One important issue that needs to be kept in mind concerns the powerful and pervasive influence of level of functioning on the symptoms, behaviors, and capabilities of children with autism. Low- and high-functioning children with autism are both similar in their core deficits, and very different in their adaptive level, and this makes some of our conclusions about psychological factors rather qualified. While the central social and communicative deficits may be common, there are clear differences in levels and profiles of abilities across the range of severity of autistic conditions; these differences affect adaptive behavior as well as intervention opportunities and outcome in later life.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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  • Psychological factors in autism
    • By Margot Prior, School of Behavioural Sciences, Melbourne University, Sally Ozonoff, MIND Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of California
  • Edited by Fred R. Volkmar, Yale University, Connecticut
  • Book: Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders
  • Online publication: 19 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511544446.004
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  • Psychological factors in autism
    • By Margot Prior, School of Behavioural Sciences, Melbourne University, Sally Ozonoff, MIND Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of California
  • Edited by Fred R. Volkmar, Yale University, Connecticut
  • Book: Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders
  • Online publication: 19 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511544446.004
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Psychological factors in autism
    • By Margot Prior, School of Behavioural Sciences, Melbourne University, Sally Ozonoff, MIND Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of California
  • Edited by Fred R. Volkmar, Yale University, Connecticut
  • Book: Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders
  • Online publication: 19 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511544446.004
Available formats
×