Autism: When all Areas of Development are Affected

Autism: When all Areas of Development are Affected

The word Autism means ‘in one’s world’. The Ukrainian American psychiatrist Leo Kanner first coined the term Infantile Autism’ in 1943 when he reported a series of eleven children whose problems had started before the age of two years. His observations and descriptions fit very well with the present-day concept of autism. However, we know now that the presentation can be more varied, and hence the title Autism Spectrum Disorder’ is used to describe the condition. Since almost all areas of development are affected, it was also called ‘Pervasive Developmental Disorder’. Several names were used to identify subgroups of the condition in the past. A simple way of looking at this would be to consider the milder forms to be called Asperger’s Syndrome; the most severe as Autistic Disorder; and the middle group referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

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