1.5 Section summary
The term ‘autism’ was originally introduced by the psychiatrist Kanner to describe a syndrome he observed in some of his child patients.
People with autistic spectrum disorders have a moderate to profound inability to make sense of, and engage ‘normally’ with, everyday events and situations, particularly those with a ‘human’ content.
They have particular difficulties in three areas: social interaction, language and communication, and rigid adherence to narrow interests, routines and activities.
Current thinking favours the idea of autism as a spectrum of difficulties.
Males are more frequently affected than females.
Psychological work on autistic spectrum disorders embraces a variety of interacting perspectives and disciplines, all of which seek understanding of the condition and effective approaches to support and treatment.
This work is characterised by different levels of analysis and the use of different kinds of evidence.