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AUTISM. 1. Autistic Disorder. Impairments in social interaction, communication , and imaginative play . Apparent before age 3. Also includes stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities. 2. Asperger’s Disorder.

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1 autistic disorder
1. Autistic Disorder
  • Impairments in social interaction, communication, and imaginative play.
  • Apparent before age 3.
  • Also includes stereotyped behaviors, interests, and activities
2 asperger s disorder
2. Asperger’s Disorder
  • Impairments in social interactions, and presence of restricted interests and activities
  • No clinically significant general delay in language
  • Average to above average intelligence
  • 1. Communication/Language
  • 2. Social Interaction
  • 3. Behaviors
  • 4. Sensory and movement disorders
  • 5. Resistance to change (predictability)
  • 6. Intellectual functioning
1 communication language
1. Communication/language
  • Broad range of abilities, from no verbal communication to quite complex skills
  • Two common impairments:
  • A. Delayed language
  • B. Echolalia
a delayed language
A. Delayed language
  • 50% of autistic individuals will eventually have useful speech (?)
  • Pronoun reversal: “You want white icing on chocolate cake.”
  • Difficulty in conversing easily with others
  • Difficulty in shifting topics
  • Look away; poor eye contact
b echolalia
B. Echolalia
  • Common in very young children (Age 3)
  • Immediate or delayed (even years)
  • Is there communicative intent with echolalia?
2 social interaction
2. Social Interaction
  • One of hallmarks of autism is lack of social interaction
  • 1. Impaired use of nonverbal behavior
  • 2. Lack of peer relationships
  • 3. Failure to spontaneously share enjoyment, interests, etc. with others
  • 4. Lack of reciprocity
  • Theory of mind?
3 behaviors
3. Behaviors
  • Repetitive behaviors, including obsessions, tics, and perseveration
  • Impeding behaviors (impede their learning or the learning of others)
  • Will need positive behavior supports
  • A. Self-injurious behavior
  • B. Aggression
4 sensory and movement disorders
4. Sensory and movement disorders
  • Very common
  • Over- or under-sensitive to sensory stimuli
  • Abnormal posture and movements of the face, head, trunk, and limbs
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Repeated gestures and mannerisms
  • Movement disorders can be detected very early – perhaps at birth
5 predictability
5. Predictability
  • Change in routine is very stressful
  • May insist on particular furniture arrangement, food at meals, TV shows
  • Symmetry is often important
  • Interventions need to focus on preparing students for change if possible
6 intellectual functioning
6. Intellectual functioning
  • Autism occurs in children of all levels of intelligence, from those who are gifted to those who have mental retardation
  • In general, majority of individuals with autism are also identified as having mental retardation – 75% below 70
  • Verbal and reasoning skills are difficult
  • Savant syndrome
baron cohen leslie frith 1985

Baron-Cohen, Leslie & Frith (1985)

Does the Autistic child have a Theory of Mind?

the sally anne test

The Sally-Anne Test

A tool to diagnose Autism?

the baron cohen et al conclusion
The Baron Cohen et al conclusion
  • That autistic children do not have a
  • are unable to recognise that other people may have ‘their own’ representation of the world in their heads

Another Advanced Test of Theory of Mind: Evidence from Very High Functioning Adults with Autism or Asperger Syndrome.

Simon Baron-Cohen and Therese Jolliffe (University of Cambridge)

Catherine Mortimore and Mary Robertson (University of London).


subjects group 1
SubjectsGroup 1
  • 4 high functioning autistic adults with IQ > 85 (WAIS-R) diagnosed using DSM-IV with language delay.
  • 12 Asperger Syndrome adults diagnosed using ICD-10 with no language delay.
  • All together 13 males and 3 females.
  • All within normal intelligence range.
subjects group 11
SubjectsGroup 1
  • Sampling – clinical sources plus advert in National Autistic Society magazine ‘Communication’.
group 2
Group 2
  • 50 normal age matched adults (25 males and 25 females). They were Cambridge (non-university) residents. No psychiatric illness (self-report). A random selection from the subject panel. Their IQ was not measured but was considered to be within the normal range.
group 3
Group 3
  • 10 Adult Tourette Syndrome (TS) sufferers. Age matched with groups 1 and 2. (8 males and 2 females). Diagnosed using DSM-IV. Sampling frame was a tertiary referral centre in London.
group 31
Group 3
  • IQ greater than 85 (short form WAIS-R using block design, object assembly and vocabulary comprehension). Short form used owing to limited time available for testing. Short form correlates with full scale 0.91.
  • Groups 1 and 3 had to pass 2 1st order false belief tasks and a second-order task (all passed). A first-order task requires the subject to infer the thoughts of another person. A second-order task involves the subject reasoning about what one person thinks about another person’s thoughts.
method and design
Method and Design
  • · Eyes Task
  • · Strange Stories task
  • · 2 control tasks
  • Presented in random order.
the eyes task
The Eyes Task
  • Magazine photos
  • 15cm X 10cm
  • Black and White
  • Midway along nose to just above eyebrow.
  • 3 second exposure and then a forced choice between 2 mental states.
the eyes task1
The Eyes Task
  • “Which word best describes what the person is feeling or thinking?”
  • 25 pictures
the eyes task2
The Eyes Task
  • Four judges 2 male and 2 female picked the labels and opposites in open discussion.
  • Eight judges 4 males and four females independently agreed the labels unanimously.
  • They were blind to the hypothesis.
  • Task validated by Happes (1994) strange stories.
control tasks
Control tasks.
  • Gender recognition task – the same eyes were used but participants were required to recognise gender.
  • Basic emotion recognition task (emotion task) – participants are required to judge the emotion of the whole face.
  • Six faces were used – happy, sad, angry, afraid, disgusted and surprised. These are considered to be basic emotions.
  • The performance of the autistic participants was equivalent to that of the Asperger’s.
  • On the strange stories task in the Tourette participants made no errors whereas the Asperger’s made many mistakes.
  • Intelligence is not a factor here as all participants were within the normal range.
  • frontal lobe damage also is not a factor as Tourette’s participants did well even though frontal lobe damage is thought to be a factor in Tourette’s syndrome.