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December 1957

Early Infantile Autism in Identical Twins: Report of a Case

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;78(6):621-623. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330420081016

Early infantile autism, a form of schizophrenia first appearing in infancy, was described by Kanner in 1944.1 In the hope that a study of this condition might shed clearer light on the etiology of schizophrenia, much interest has since then been shown in early infantile autism.2-5 Two cases have been reported in which this condition occurred in identical twins,6,7 and a third such instance is here reported. This illness characteristically appears in only one child of any family, and its occurrence in identical twins is hence of particular interest.

A striking withdrawal from interpersonal activity is the prime feature of early infantile autism. As early as the fourth month of life the child may show apathy to the attention of those caring for him. As he becomes older, this withdrawal from emotional contact with people becomes more obvious. The autistic child has a marked interest in things