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         Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders


          Autism: Autism Society of America Definition (1997-present)

            -     A developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life.
            -     It results from a neurological abnormality and is often accompanied by associated
            -    Autism interferes with the normal functioning of the brain in the areas of reasoning,
                  social interaction, and communication.
            -    Children and adults with autism typically have deficiencies in verbal and nonverbal   
                  communication,  social interactions and leisure or play activities.
             -   The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relating to the
                 outside world.
             -   Children with autism may exhibit repeated body movements (hand-flapping,
                 rocking), unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to
                 changes in routine.
             -   In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present.
             -   It is conservatively estimated that nearly 400,000 people in the US today have some
                 form of autism.
             -   Its prevalence rate now places it as the third most common developmental disability-
                 more common than  Down Syndrome.

         PDD:  (Pervasive Development Disorder) DSM-IV, 1994 
                     Any one of the following Disorders:
                     1.   Autistic Disorder
                     2.  Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
                     3.  Asperger's Disorder
                     4.  Rhett's Disorder S. PDD-NOS

         ASD:   Autism Spectrum Disorders

                     Refers to all of the subcategories of PDD as defined in the most
                     recent edition of the DSM-IV.


      MSDD:  Multisystems Developmental Disorders
                     Greenspan's term for those children with ASD who show good affect 
                     or the potential for good affect.

         LKS:  Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
                     A communicative disorder which begins after a period of normal development
                     and which  may result from sub-clinical seizure activity in the temporal lobe.
                     Children with this disability appear to experience a kind of word deafness.
                     When this happens during the first three years of life, the children's behavior
                     may resemble the behavior of children
                     with Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (DSM-IV, 1994).

                    A syndrome observed in children who have the following characteristics:
                    1.  Precocious ability to read words, far above what would be expected 
                        at the chronological age, or brain intense fascination with numbers or letters.
                    2.  Significant difficulty understanding verbal language.
                    3.  Abnormal social skills, including difficulty socializing and interacting
                        appropriately with people  (American Hyperlexia Association, 1997).

                    * Note that many children with autism present with symptoms of hyperlexia, and
                      that the DSM-IV (1994) does not distinguish hyperlexia as a separate syndrome.

                     Koenig 9/9/97


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