By Francesca Happé

This identify is meant for complicated undergraduate and masters point scholars in psychology; expert medical, developmental and academic psychologists; normal practitioners and others with a unique curiosity in kids; careworkers; and oldsters of autistic young children.

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Additional resources for Autism: An Introduction to Psychological Theory

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It is part of the excitement and frustration of research that there are always further questions to ask, and new theories to be developed. Chapter 10 looks to the future and makes some speculative suggestions concerning the cognitive cause of the puzzling non-social assets and deficits in autism. Conclusions When we try to understand the mind of an individual with autism, we are looking for an explanation of autism at the cognitive level. In this chapter some of the characteristics of a good theory at the cognitive level have been discussed, and one candidate theory reviewed.

However, it would be premature to conclude that people with autism and individuals with frontal lobe damage necessarily fail these tasks for the same reasons. Failure on frontal lobe tasks need not indicate damage to the frontal lobes in autism: the frontal lobes cover a large area of the brain which takes inputs from many other cortical and subcortical regions. The picture is further complicated by the fact that performance on certain arrays of supposedly “frontal” tasks does not necessarily correlate well, and that patients can be found who clearly show loss of frontal tissue in brain scans, but still perform well on these tasks, in addition to patients who fail despite no obvious damage to these brain areas (Shallice & Burgess 1991).

Szatmari & Jones (1991) have recently discussed the types of inheritance that might be involved in autism. e. inherited from both father and mother); X linked (carried on the female sex chromosome). However, they stress that more data need to be collected concerning the pattern of occurrence of autism in families and the severity of attendant general learning difficulties, in order to explore the possible modes of inheritance. A final common pathway A general consensus at present is that a number of rather different biological causes may result in autism (Schopler & Mesibov 1987, Gillberg & Coleman 1992).

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