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Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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6 Summary

This week has looked at key explanations of autism at three different levels: psychology, neurobiology and genetics. Psychological research has highlighted processes (theory of mind, executive function, etc.) which may help to explain observed behaviour and thinking style in autism. But no theory is conclusive, the findings vary, and in particular sensory differences have proved difficult to explain. There is copious research into brain and nervous system differences and genetic influences related to autism, but again, no firm conclusions can be drawn.

Next week deals with the very different question of how autistic people can be helped.

You should now be able to:

  • understand key approaches to explaining autism
  • differentiate three levels of explanation: psychological, neurobiological and genetic
  • understand key psychological accounts of the autistic ‘thinking style’ and identify implications for everyday life
  • appreciate key ideas about brain and nervous system function in autism
  • appreciate the complex role of genetic influences in autism.

Now you can go to Week 5 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .