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November 1988

Disorders of Higher Cerebral Function in Preschool Children: Second of Two Parts

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(11):1178-1182. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150110056019

AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDERS  Autism is no more a disease than dysphasia or dyslexia, it is a syndrome or symptom-complex of brain dysfunction that may have any one of multiple etiologies (eg, congenital rubella, untreated phenylketonuria, tuberous sclerosis, fragile-X).27 In most cases the etiology is unknown. There are some families in whom it seems to appear as a genetic trait. It affects four boys to every girl. A recent report indicates that autism in some but not all autistic boys without severe mental deficiency is associated with hypoplasia of lobules VI and VII of the cerebellar vermis.28 The significance of this finding remains to be clarified.The core symptoms of autism, those that make one call a child autistic whatever his IQ, other symptoms, and skills, have to do with affect, socialization and communication, and play (Table 6).29 Therefore, other symptoms, for example, sensorimotor abnormalities, aberrant attention, and