6 - Autistic disorders  pp. 136-168

Autistic disorders

By Patricia Howlin

Chapter Abstract

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that is usually apparent from early childhood. The autism is characterized by deficits in three domains: communication; social understanding, and rigid and repetitive patterns of behaviour. Although autism is associated with a range of behavioural difficulties, including aggression, temper-tantrums, destructiveness, toileting, and eating and sleeping difficulties, these also occur in many other developmental disorders. Initial follow-up studies of adults with autism were largely anecdotal and unsystematic but towards the end of 1960s Rutter and his colleagues conducted a detailed assessment of 38 young adults first diagnosed as autistic during 1950s and 1960s. Studies of home-based interventions, specifically designed for young children with autism, indicated that if parents can be helped to develop appropriately structured and consistent management strategies from the outset this can enhance social, cognitive and linguistic development and minimize behavioural problems.


behavioural problems; temper-tantrums; Autistic disorder; home-based interventions; Rutter; Autism;