autism

Public awareness of autism has grown immensely in recent decades, thanks in large part to the 1988 multi-Oscar-winning film Rain Man. But so too has the spread of myth and misconception. Today few terms are hurled about with as much hype and abandon as ‘autism’ and ‘...

Mark Rimland was not like other babies. As his father, Bernard, later recalled, ‘Mark was a screaming, implacable infant who resisted being cuddled and struggled against being picked up’. The paediatricians were baffled, and it was only after his mother, Gloria, remembered...

These words come from some correspondence with one of my research participants, who has Asperger’s. What he highlights, to me, is the fact that we still don’t really know what autism is, despite decades of autism research. The fact that the criteria for diagnosing autism in...

You were on the neurodevelopmental disorders work group for the latest revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). How have you found that?
It’s been an experience, for sure! It led me to think of lots of questions...

Transported to a world of emotion

Why would the UK government fund Cambridge University and a Manchester-based production company to make a series of children’s animation? After all, professional-quality animation doesn’t come cheap. The answer is that...

Since autism was first described more than 60 years ago (Asperger, 1944/1991; Kanner, 1943), researchers have been trying to pinpoint the underlying basis of the disorder. Yet autism still continues to perplex, even though the need for an understanding of the disorder is...

Classic autism and Asperger’s syndrome both share three core diagnostic features: difficulties in social development, and in the development of communication, alongside unusually strong, narrow interests and repetitive behaviour. Since communication is always social, it might...

Recent research in cognitive neuroscience has advanced our knowledge of the brain areas underpinning imitation – a process often exploited in education that is said to provide a foundation for language acquisition, skill learning, socialisation and enculturation (Brass &...