Autism and The triad of impairment

Charlotte Cunnington
Mind Map by Charlotte Cunnington, updated more than 1 year ago
Charlotte Cunnington
Created by Charlotte Cunnington about 6 years ago


Autism 1

Resource summary

Autism and The triad of impairment
1 Definitions
1.1 The National Autistic Society: 'Complex lifelong disability, which affects a person's social and communication skills',
1.2 Flanagan (2000): 'A mental disorder characterized by self orientation'
1.3 This original analysis of characteristics of autism lead to the modern definition in DSM-IV
1.3.1 DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; Edition 4, this is a book with definitions and information of all mental disorders that professional psychologists use) 'a pervasive mental disorder' This means a severe mental impairment in several areas of development which starts in early childhood and becomes apparent as the child begins to develop.
2 Autism as a syndrome and triad of symptoms
2.1 The DSM-IV requires delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, and the onset must be before the age of 3:
2.1.1 Language as used in social communication
2.1.2 Symbolic or imaginative play
2.1.3 Social interaction
3 Key Study: Wing&Gould (1970)
3.1 Aim
3.1.1 To discover how many children in a selected population showed symptoms of autism and whether these symptoms could be classified as a syndrome (tend to occur together)
3.2 Method
3.2.1 914 mentally and physically handicapped children between 0-14 years old were screened for autistic symptoms Most of these children had IQ<70.
3.2.2 A longitudinal study was carried out in London
3.2.3 173 were identified as displaying at least one of the three behaviours typical of autism and were studied more closely
3.2.4 These children that were observed and tested regularly and the parents/carers were interviewed. A follow up study was conducted when the participants were 16-30.
3.3 Results
3.3.1 Severe social impairment takes different forms and affects children with varying levels of intellectual ability. The group was then subdivided on the basis of intellectual ability.
3.3.2 They found that children with higher intellectual ability (mental age >20 months) who showed social impairment also showed the two other key features of autism.
3.3.3 Sociable children in the higher ability group did not show the other two features of autism (It is difficult to come to a definite conclusion for children with an IQ of less than 20 months because they are not able to show some of the behaviours e.g. strict adherence to routines)
3.4 Conclusion
3.4.1 The triad of impairments do not occur together by chance but can be considered a syndrome
3.5 Evaluation
3.5.1 It was a longitudinal study carried out over 16 years so there was 'participant drop out'. Therefore the sample of socially impaired higher ability children was quite small.
3.5.2 The sample was all taken from London, therefore this makes the study culture bias and makes generalisation unreliable.
3.5.3 The triad of impairment does not tell us anything else about other recognised symptoms that autistic individuals display e.g. islets of ability. It might be that some individuals who have the triad of impairments and one or more of these other symptoms may eventually form new subgroups of autism.
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