PSYC 101.

Introduction to Psychology

Autism
Applying the Developmental Approach

Trey Buchanan, Ph.D.

overview • Goal of this lecture: – to illustrate developmental approach to  understanding a clinical disorder • Structured around four questions:  1. Why is it a developmental disorder? 3. What is autism? 2. What does the future hold? . How is autism treated?  4.

what is autism? • Popular ideas about autism • A (brief) history of autism • Current classification and research  • Future directions of autism  .

Some ideas about autism Children with autism can perform amazing mental feats. Cold or distant mothering can cause autism. Most children with autism never learn to talk. Adults with autism need institutionalized care. . Autism can be caused by vaccinations. Autistic children are completely cut off from human relationships. Special diets can be used to cure autistic symptoms.

 ?  . .A (brief) history of autism 1908  Bleuler’s initial identification of autism in adults 1943  Kanner describes 11 children with childhood autism  1944 Asperger describes “little professor” syndrome 1967  Bettelheim’s The Empty Fortress published 1968  DSM‐II lists autism as type of childhood schizophrenia 1980  Wing conceptualizes triad of autistic symptoms 1987  DSM‐IIIR places among personality disorders 1994  DSM‐IV places autism among clinical disorders 1999 Federal autism research initiatives launched 2000 DSM‐IV‐TR clarifies PDD‐NOS  2002  Vaccine/MMR controversy 2010  Change in DSM‐V . .

Current classification of autism Categorical Spectrum Combination of deficits in . . . m o C i n u m ti a c on al i c So pr i c e R ty i oc v a h Be ra o i r e ep R l re i to - Level of Functioning + .

Pervasive Developmental Disorders Core features of PDDs / ASDs • • • Limited social interaction Lack of verbal communication Narrow and repetitive behavior  patterns .

 .Pervasive Developmental Disorders Identifying PDDs in . • • • • infants young children older children adolescents and adults . .

Multilevel Model of PDD Observable symptoms Core Behavioral Deficits Cognitive-Emotional-Behavioral Functioning Brain Structures and Neurologic Pathways Gene-Environment Interactions .

intervention & treatment Observable symptoms Behavioral Therapy Core Behavioral Deficits Cognitive Therapy Cognitive-Emotional-Behavioral Functioning Speech & Language Therapy Brain Structures and Neurologic Pathways Social Skills Training Psychopharmological Treatment Gene-Environment Interactions Parenting and Family Support .

current research in autism Genes and the Broader Autism Phenotype Autism as “Theory of Mind” Deficit Sensory-Motor Learning & Behavioral Regulation The Weak Central Coherence Model .

Genes & the “BAP” • Strong evidence of heritability • Consistent 4:1 male‐female ratio • Likely genetic effects due to modifications  of secondary or tertiary structures of DNA  rather than primary changes in gene  sequence (epigenesis) • Current estimate is that between 5 and 100  loci involved .

Theory of Mind .

Weak central coherence model .

Weak Central Coherence & ToM? Typical Viewer Atypical Viewer .

The future • How will our understanding of autism  change? – Broader understanding of autism(s) – Neuroimaging studies – Earlier identification and diagnosis – New cognitive‐behavioral treatments – Advocacy for living among “neurotypicals” .

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