Definition of autism

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Autism is commonly regarded as a developmental disorder consisting of a triad of impairments (Alvarez, A. and Reid, S., 1999, p. 16). This triad consists of an impairment in communication, in the ability to make social contact and in rigidity and inflexibility of behaviour linked to the impairment for symbolic thinking and the capacity to play (Alvarez, A…

Introduction

et al., 2004). Clinicians and researchers have achieved consensus on the validity of autism as a diagnostic category and many features central to its definition. It is somewhat surprising and very encouraging to note that, as greater consensus has been achieved on the definition of strictly defined autism, an interesting and helpful discussion on issues of broader phenotype or potential variants of autism has begun.
Today, there is a broad agreement that autism is a developmental disorder, and autism and associated disorders in the spectrum represent the behavioural manifestations of underlying dysfunction in the functioning of the central nervous system (Minshew, N.J. and Williams, D.L., 2007). Within this, it can also be included that sustained educational and behavioural interventions are useful and constitute the core treatment of such condition (Klin, A., Jones, W., Schultz, R., Volkmar, F., and Cohen, D., 2002). In 1943, Kanner's seminal clinical description of 11 children with "autistic disturbances of affective contact" has endured till date. His description of autism was grounded in data and theory of child development. ...
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