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6 - Autistic disorders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 August 2009

Patricia Howlin
Affiliation:
St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London
Orlee Udwin
Affiliation:
Mary Sheridan Centre for Child Health, London
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Summary

Introduction

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that is usually apparent from early childhood (Volkmar, Stier & Cohen, 1985). It is characterized by deficits in three domains: communication; social understanding, and rigid and repetitive patterns of behaviour; and it is this combination of difficulties that constitutes the basic diagnostic criteria for the disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 1994 – DSM-IV; World Health Organization, 1992 – ICD–10, see Table 6.1).

The condition was first systematically described by Leo Kanner in the United States (US) in 1943, but a remarkably similar account, written by Hans Asperger in Austria, appeared at much the same time (Asperger, 1944; Frith, 1991). Debate continues as to whether autism and Asperger syndrome are quantitatively or qualitatively different (Schopler, Mesibov & Kunce, 1998) and in particular whether Asperger syndrome should be distinguished from high functioning autism (i.e. IQ > 70; Volkmar, Klin & Cohen, 1997). Szatmari, Bartolucci & Bremner (1989a) in a comparative outcome study of 28 individuals with Asperger syndrome and 25 with high functioning autism, concluded that ‘there were no substantive, qualitative differences’ between them. In contrast, Klin & Volkmar (1997) suggested that there may be certain neuropsychological differences between the two conditions. However, on the basis of present knowledge, it appears that there are few major differences, either in early history or outcome, between these two groups, when IQ is controlled for.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2002

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  • Autistic disorders
  • Edited by Patricia Howlin, St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, Orlee Udwin, Mary Sheridan Centre for Child Health, London
  • Book: Outcomes in Neurodevelopmental and Genetic Disorders
  • Online publication: 13 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543876.007
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  • Autistic disorders
  • Edited by Patricia Howlin, St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, Orlee Udwin, Mary Sheridan Centre for Child Health, London
  • Book: Outcomes in Neurodevelopmental and Genetic Disorders
  • Online publication: 13 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543876.007
Available formats
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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.

  • Autistic disorders
  • Edited by Patricia Howlin, St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, Orlee Udwin, Mary Sheridan Centre for Child Health, London
  • Book: Outcomes in Neurodevelopmental and Genetic Disorders
  • Online publication: 13 August 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511543876.007
Available formats
×