The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice
The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice

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The autistic spectrum: From theory to practice

5.4 Section summary

  • Twin and family studies provide strong evidence for genetic influences in ASDs, and for a spectrum ranging from classic autism to subtle borderline symptoms.

  • One model linking genetic influences to organic dysfunction sees genetic influences as triggering a single causal chain; another suggests that organic dysfunction may occur independently and add to or interact with genetic vulnerability.

  • Evidence for brain and neuronal dysfunction ranges from non-specific EEG findings to neuropsychological and fMRI data highlighting specific brain areas, including the frontal and temporal lobes, cerebellum, limbic system and amygdala.

  • The amygdala model of autism suggests links between findings at biological and socio-cognitive levels, but is currently speculative.

  • Impaired social interactions between the infant and his/her caregiver may have a detrimental effect on organic functioning.

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