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22 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by deficits and impairment in two domains:

Social functioning and communication

Restricted behaviors and interests

Social functioning and communication

social-emotional reciprocity

nonverbal behaviors


emotion regulation and communication

- eye tracking studies

spoken language and communication

Social-emotional reciprocity
giving back= difficulty giving back a reaction
nonverbal behaviors

unable to pick up non-verbal cues

hard time reading other people

no emotional/ social interactions so harder to have friends and connect with family
emotion regulation and processing

focus on mouth vs. eyes

- eyes help communicate emotions

Eye-tracking studies

autistic children on the mouth and hands rather than the eyes

- explains why they can't read people

Spoken language and communication

delay in (or total lack of) spoken language

- half of children with autism never develop useful speech

- marked impairment in ability to initiate or sustain a conversation

Restricted behaviors and interests (2nd domain)

stereotyped/repetitive motor movements

insistence on sameness

highly restricted interests

sensory sensitivity

Stereotyped/ repetitive motor movements
will do something repetitive such as watching a movie several times
Insistence on sameness
Highly restricted interests
like mechanical things such as cars/ trains; not interested in sports
Sensory sensitivity
overly sensitive to environment
Diagnostic Criteria

3 kinds of social and communication deficits

2 kinds of repetitive behaviors/ fixated interests

comorbidity with IDD- 75%

Male: female ratio: 4:1

Major change in diagnosis for DSM-V

single diagnosis

- controversial because the stigma of autism is lower functioning and those with Aspergers are higher in intellect and functioning

Diagnosing Autism

Autism can be reliably diagnosed by 2 years

Average age of diagnosis is 5 years

Developmental Progression of Autism and the two courses

Early onset (0-12 months)

Autistic regression= 25-50% of autistic children (usually by 18 months)

- Lose skills and develop symptoms after 1-2 years of seemingly typical development


Toddler and Preschool


symptoms start appearing by 6-12 months

- symptoms= failure to respond to name, decline in visual attention, intense reactions to distress, decreased social interests, language delays

Toddler and Preschool
social orienting and joint attention, attention to the emotional cues of others, imitation of others, face-recognition
Rates and Causes

1 in 68 individuals have autism

Genetic risk factors and brain differences

- genes= ASD is the most heritable childhood disorder

- genetic studies-> complex picture

Environmental factors

- exposure to thalidomide in utero (very rare!)

- no other environmental factor has research evidence

Autism and vaccinations

Wakefield's Lancet publication in 1998

- 12 children

- reported a link between MMR vaccine and autism

- Journal retracted article in 2010

Overwhelming research evidence against a link between autism and vaccinations

- large representative samples

- millions of children

- across the world


What doesn't work?

- Gluten-free diets

- casein-free diets

- vitamin and mineral supplements

- oxygen chambers

- chelation

What does work?

- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy

- Intensive individual therapy

- Autism social groups

key -> early and frequent intervention