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Regression and Other Patterns of Onset 

Regression and Other Patterns of Onset

Chapter:
Regression and Other Patterns of Onset
Author(s):

Ozonoff Sally

, Heung Kelly

, and Thompson Meagan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195371826.003.0005
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date: 26 March 2017

This chapter reviews studies on the onset of autism. The onset of autism is a gradual process that involves both diminishment of certain key social behaviors and failure to progress in other more advanced social-communicative processes over time. Autism appears to emerge over the first year and a half of life and is not present in most cases from shortly after birth. There is evidence that the traditionally defined categories of early onset and regressive autism are overly narrow prototypes that may not in fact be very common. There is ample evidence of other ways in which symptoms emerge that are not captured by these prototypes. A second insight from the body of research summarized in this chapter is that regression may be much more common than initially thought. If defined narrowly, in the traditional manner (requiring loss of language), regression is relatively rare. If defined more broadly, to include diminishment in social engagement, regression may be the rule rather than the exception.

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