3.5 Section summary
Asperger worked independently of Kanner during the 1940s. His case studies, including intellectually able children, highlighted variations in severity and in specific symptoms among children identified as autistic.
Wing and Gould's population study established the spectrum concept.
The term Asperger's syndrome is used for symptom patterns similar to autism, but less pervasive. The significance of language and communication difficulties in this group is currently uncertain.
Savant skills present a particular challenge to understanding the spectrum.
Continuum and sub-group approaches to autism have complementary explanatory, diagnostic and practical functions.
Follow-up studies of autism suggest lifelong consequences in most cases. Many individuals achieve considerable social and personal adjustment, but may continue to experience difference and isolation.