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Autism - Background. Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) Differential diagnosis important Similar symptoms with several disorders Often considered a “spectrum” disorder. Autism. Primary Characteristics Social relationship problems Nonverbal behaviors

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autism background
Autism - Background
  • Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)
  • Differential diagnosis important
    • Similar symptoms with several disorders
    • Often considered a “spectrum” disorder
autism
Autism
  • Primary Characteristics
    • Social relationship problems
      • Nonverbal behaviors
      • Failure to develop peer relationships
      • Lack of spontaneous sharing with others
      • Lack of social or emotional reciprocity
primary characteristics cont
Primary characteristics cont’
  • Language problems
    • Delay in or lack of language development
    • Impairment in ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
    • Stereotyped or repetitive use of language
  • Stereotypic behaviors
    • Repetitive motor movements
additional characteristics
Additional characteristics
  • Abnormal responses to environment
  • Decreased intellectual functioning

Age of onset

Course

Prevalence

differential diagnosis
Differential Diagnosis
  • Childhood schizophrenia
  • Developmental aphasia
  • Mental retardation
  • Asperger’s Disorder
    • Impairment in social interaction
    • Restricted or repetitive behavior
    • Differences: language, attachment, intellectual
etiology
Etiology
  • Many common theories disproved:
    • Autism as withdrawal to cope with psychological pain
    • Chronic under-arousal in RAS
    • Learning of self-stimulation
    • MMR vaccine
      • Have looked at assoc. between intro. of vaccine and autism rates in different countries and different points of times
  • Genetics : concordance rates 36 – 95% for MZ and 0-5% for DZ
  • Neuropsychological factors
    • Diffuse damage, excess white matter
treatment interventions
Treatment/Interventions
  • Medications – help only minority of children
  • Behavioral approaches
    • TEACCH – UNC Chapel Hill
      • Structured teaching (structuring the environment)
      • “social story”
      • Visual information
    • Lovaas’ behavior modification
      • Intense behavioral therapy
      • 40 hrs. per week, over 2 years

Both most effective if initiated early ages (by preschool)