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Introduction: Autism Turns 65: A Neurologist’s Bird’s Eye View 

Introduction: Autism Turns 65: A Neurologist’s Bird’s Eye View

Chapter:
Introduction: Autism Turns 65: A Neurologist’s Bird’s Eye View
Author(s):

Isabelle Rapin

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195371826.003.0001
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date: 29 March 2017

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.

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