Psychology autism


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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 12-04-12 16:15

What is autism ?

  • A pervasive developmental disorder. 3-4 x more likely to occur in boys.

Diagnostic criteria for autism (post DSM-IV 2000)

Diagnosis requires 6+ items with at least 2 from category 1, and at least 1 each from categories 2 & 3.

Category 1

  • Problems with non verbal comunication (e.g eye contact)
  • Problems with peer relationships
  • Lack of interest in other people
  • Not responding to others

Category 2 

  • Delayed language
  • Problems in conversation
  • Repetitive language
  • Lack of make believe or pretend play.

Category 3

  • Very restricted range of interests
  • Extreme preferenc for routine
  • Stereotyped movement
  • Facination with parts of objects
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What is autism ?

Kannner (1943)

Autistic aloneness- Child is completely unable to relate to other people.

Desire for sameness- Child shows very litte variety in speech or actions.

Islets of ability- A very specific and sometimes incredible talent.

  • More recent studies have recognised Kanners characteristics into 3 groups known as the triad of impairments (Frith)

Triad of impairments

1. Social interaction- Avoid games and joint activities with others, lack of empathy for others, impaired use of non-verbal behaviours e.g eye contact.

2. Communication- Absent/very restricted speech, reluctant to start/join conversations, repetitive and stereotypical language.

3.Stereotypical behaviours- repetitive behaviours are common, changes to routine cause violent temper outbursts, limited interests, attached to unusual objects.

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What is autism ?

Lack of joint attention - child attempts to socially interact with adult by engaging there attention onto a shared event/object. This is lacking in children with autism.

Impairments in social interaction (Frith 2003)

Aloof- Withdrawn, little use of speech or non-verbal communication, preference for inanimate objects over people.

Passive- follows instructions even when they should be ignored, is utterly honest even when this may be hurtful.

odd- unable to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behaviours, likely to overstep boundaries.

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