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A group of disorders in which the development of the CNS is impaired and whose symptoms appear during the early developmental period (before six years of age)

Neurodevelopmental Disorders


The DSM-4 Defined four separate disorders, what were they?

Autistic Disorder (autism)
Asperger's Disorder (high functioning autism)
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (regressive autism)
Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified (atypical autism)


The DSM-5 combined the separate orders into a single disorder called _________, as it is a single condition with a varying severity of symptoms.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


The DSM-5 characterizes ASD by:

Deficits in social communication and social interaction
Restricted repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities


When do symptoms of ASD generally appear?

Ages 1-2


Individuals with autism experience difficulties in forming relationships owing in large part to limited social interactions as a result of impaired:

Verbal communication
Social communication
Social cognition/imagination


What are some of the verbal communication impairments faced by ASD individuals?

Some will never develop ability to speak - 1/3
Uneven language development
Unable to hold 2 way conversation despite rich vocabulary


What are some commonly observed speech patterns of verbal ASD individuals?

Repetitive or rigid language - saying things with no
meaning or context

Echolalia - repeating words/phrases over and over

Use of odd tone of voice

A very literal understanding/interpretation of language


What are some non-verbal communication impairments? (Social)

Unable to engage in/maintain eye contact

Difficulty interpreting or using body language

Display few facial expressions and have difficulty interpreting those of others


How you think about yourself and others in the social world around you

Social Cognition


Individuals have impaired social cognition in regards to what areas?

Emotional Competence
Theory of mind


Our ability to express emotion and perceive the emotions of others

Emotional competence


What are some difficulties in emotional competence faced by individuals with ASD?

Emotional Expression - show very little emotion, appear aloof

Emotional Regulation - emotions are expressed intensely with little build up

Emotional Understanding - unable to perceive emotions of others


The ability to attribute mental states to others and to realize that other individuals have their own distinct mental state entirely separate from one's own

Theory of Mind


What are some restricted repetitive behaviors exhibited by those with ASD?

Repetitive stereotyped motor movements

Resistant to changes

Ritualistic behaviors


Prevalence of ASD

1 in 68 children

Males 4x more likely to be diagnosed


Swapping of diagnoses

Diagnostic Accretion


Children with ASD typically have _____ ____due to an atypical burst of growth at around 6 months of age.

Larger Brain


The Corpus Callosum, which connects the cerebellar hemispheres, tends to be smaller in those with ASD, what is a result of this limited connectivity?

Inability to integrate complex ideas


The Caudate, which is associated with motor processes, tends to be increased in volume and activity in those with ASD, what symptom is this associated with?

Repetitive and ritualistic behaviors


The Amygdala, which generates fear, tends to have increased volume in those with ASD, what symptom is this associated with?

Social withdrawal


The frontal and temporal lobe appear to have increased volume in those with ASD but display decreased activity, what symptoms are associated with this?

inability to perceive social interactions or interpret facial expressions
Lack of theory of mind


What appears to be primary origin of Autism



What theory suggests that ASD is due to prenatal neglect?

Refrigerator Mother Theory