Autism-- the Search for Coherence

Autism-- the Search for Coherence

Autism-- the Search for Coherence

Autism-- the Search for Coherence

Synopsis

This text offers a multidisciplinary approach to autism, its causes and treatments. Both scientific and clinical research is presented and discussed. Parents and teachers describe practical strategies and give their views on the treatments available.

Excerpt

These are interesting and exciting times for those concerned with people with autism. New ways of understanding the children's problems are being developed, research into underlying physiological mechanisms is yielding fascinating results, the genetic influences are being explored, public awareness is growing and, vitally, therapies are being developed which seem to offer more hope of real improvement for at least some children with autism. At the same time there is concern for the 'autism explosion'; reported cases of autism have increased dramatically in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s (Rimland 1999, 2000). While some of this increase is due to a broadening of the diagnostic category and better awareness and detection by professionals, most believe that there is a real increase in incidence as well. Only a few other childhood problems have increased so dramatically in recent years, notably allergies (which raises the question of linkage) (van Gent et al. 1997).

Autism has, more than most childhood problems, been understood and studied in an enormous variety of ways. There is no widely accepted 'theory of autism', nor an approach to investigating the condition or to its treatment. in the past there was considerable animosity between different schools of thought. Many parents found this confusing and distressing. Yet, talking to and reading about the work of researchers, clinicians and teachers, it is also clear that many are saying and doing compatible things but in different theoretical languages or with different emphases or simply talking about different aspects of the problem: physiology, psychology, education. There is a need to bring these ideas together, building on their . . .

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