Isabelle Rapin

in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371826
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965212 | DOI:

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  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience


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Autism has come full circle in a half-century, from an obscure “psychiatric disease” to the symptom of a partially understood deviance in brain development influenced by both genetics and the environment. This introductory chapter highlights the main reasons for dramatic changes in its prevalence. It emphasizes the complete lack of understanding of what triggers language/autistic regression and provides evidence against epilepsy as a major player in its occurrence. It presents a view of subtypes of language disorders in autism, pointing out that, besides their universally and persistently impaired use of language (pragmatics), some children have undisputable deficits at the level of receptive and expressive phonology and grammar. Finally, this introductory chapter considers advances in pharmacologic intervention disappointing, in contrast to a much more optimistic appraisal of progress in education, especially in toddlers who are being diagnosed at ever earlier ages.

Chapter.  10300 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; Neurology ; Neuroscience

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