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Outline of autism

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Outline of autism

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to autism:

Autismdisorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

What type of thing is autism?

Autism can be described as all of the following:

  • Disability – may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.
    • Developmental disability – a term used in the United States and Canada to describe lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18.
  • Disorder
      • Developmental disorder – occur at some stage in a child's development, often retarding the development.
        • Neurodevelopmental disorder – or disorder of neural development, is an impairment of the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system.

Conditions and research areas

  • Asperger syndrome (AS) – an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
  • Autism – limited in focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy, or game.
  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – an instrument for diagnosing and assessing Autism.
  • Autism spectrum – a range of conditions classified as pervasive developmental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
  • Autism Spectrum Quotient – AQ, is a questionnaire published in 2001 by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.
  • Causes of autism – have been proposed, but understanding of the theory of causation of autism and the other autism spectrum disorders is incomplete.
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) –
  • Conditions comorbid to autism spectrum disorders – such as fragile X syndrome and epilepsy.
  • Developmental disability – lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18.
  • Epidemiology of autism – the study of factors affecting autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
  • Epigenetics of autism – the study of epigenetic effects in ASD.
  • Fragile X syndrome (FXS) – Martin-Bell syndrome, or Escalante's syndrome (more commonly used in South American countries), is a genetic syndrome that is the most common known single-gene cause of autism and the most common inherited cause of mental retardation among boys.
  • Genetic disorder – an illness caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes, especially a condition that is present from before birth.
  • Global perceptions of autism − an overview of the diagnosis, treatment, and experience of autism in developing nations.
  • Heritability of autism – the proportion of autism that can be explained by genetic variation; if the heritability of a condition is high, then the condition is considered to be primarily genetic.
  • High-functioning autism – an informal term applied to autistic people who are deemed to be "higher functioning" than other autistic people, by one or more metrics.
  • Isodicentric 15
  • Language delay – a failure to develop language abilities on the usual developmental timetable.
  • Learning disability – a classification including several areas of functioning in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors.
  • List of further reading on Asperger syndrome
  • Mirror neuron – a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) – as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication.
  • PDD-NOS – (PDD-NOS) is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and is also considered one of the three autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
  • 22q13 deletion syndrome – also known as Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, is a genetic disorder caused by a microdeletion on chromosome 22.
  • Rett syndrome – a neurodevelopmental disorder of the grey matter of the brain that almost exclusively affects females.
  • Spindle neuron – also called von Economo neurons (VENs), are a specific class of neurons that are characterized by a large spindle-shaped soma, gradually tapering into a single apical axon in one direction, with only a single dendrite facing opposite.
  • Weak central coherence theory (WCC) – also called the central coherence theory (CC), suggests that a specific perceptual-cognitive style, loosely described as a limited ability to understand context or to "see the big picture", underlies the central disturbance in autism and related autism spectrum disorders.
  • Mental retardation (MR) – a generalized disorder appearing before adulthood, characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors.


Controversies in autism

  • Autism rights movement – a social movement that encourages autistic people, their caregivers and society to adopt a position of neurodiversity, accepting autism as a variation in functioning rather than a mental disorder to be cured.
  • Autism's False Prophets – written by vaccine expert Paul Offit.
  • Autism Speaks – the world's largest autism advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public.
  • Chelation therapy – the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body.
  • Controversies in autism – encompass the disagreement over the exact nature of autism, its causes and manifestations.
  • Gluten-free, casein-free diet – diet that eliminates dietary intake of gluten and casein.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy – the medical use of oxygen at a level higher than atmospheric pressure.
  • MMR vaccine controversy – was a case of scientific misconduct which triggered a health scare.
  • Mother Warriors – written by New York Times bestselling author Jenny McCarthy.
  • Neurodiversity – the standpoint that atypical neurological development is a normal human difference.
  • Refrigerator mother – an accusing label for mothers of children diagnosed with autism or schizophrenia
  • Thiomersal controversy – describing claims that vaccines containing the mercury-based preservative thiomersal contribute to the development of autism and other brain development disorders
  • Vaccine controversy – a dispute over the morality, ethics, effectiveness, or safety of vaccinations



  • Brian Deer – a British investigative reporter, best known for inquiries into the drug industry, medicine and social issues for the Sunday Times of London.
  • David Kirby (journalist)
  • Norm Ledgin – (born 15 July 1928 in Passaic, New Jersey) is an American writer and journalist, living in the Stanley section of Overland Park, Kansas.
  • Dan Olmsted – an investigative reporter and former senior editor for United Press International (UPI), a news agency of the Unification Church company News World Communications.
  • Lenny Schafer – the adoptive parent of an autistic child.

Politicians, philanthropists and leading activists

Researchers and therapists

  • John Allman – a neuroscientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California and a well recognized expert on primates, cognition and evolutionary neuroscience.
  • David Amaral
  • Hans Asperger – (February 18, 1906 - October 21, 1980) was an Austrian pediatrician, medical theorist, and medical professor.
  • Tony Attwood
  • Simon Baron-Cohen
  • Bruno Bettelheim – was an Austrian-born American child psychologist and writer.
  • Manuel Casanova – 2006; in press.
  • Richard Deth – Ph.
  • Eric Fombonne – MD, FRCP, (b.
  • Uta Frith
  • Mark Geier – reported that the institutional review board which approved some of Geier's experiments with autistic children was located at Geier's business address and included Geier, his son and wife, a business partner of Geier's, and a plaintiff's lawyer involved in vaccine litigation.
  • Christopher Gillberg – (born 19 April 1950), who has sometimes published as Gillberg and Gillberg with his wife Carina Gillberg, is a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Gothenburg University in Gothenburg, Sweden, and an honorary professor at the UCL Institute of Child Health|Institute of Child Health (ICH), University College London.
  • Stanley Greenspan – (June 1, 1941 - April 27, 2010) was a clinical professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Science, and Pediatrics at George Washington University Medical School and a practicing child psychiatrist.
  • Boyd Haley
  • Mady Hornig – MD (born 1957) is a psychiatrist and an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, where she is Director of Translational Research in the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII).
  • Leo Kanner – (pronounced "Conner") (June 13, 1894 - April 3, 1981) was a Jewish American psychiatrist and physician known for his work related to autism.
  • Ami Klin
  • Arthur Krigsman – MD, is a pediatrician and gastroenterologist best known for his controversial and widely-criticized research in which he attempted to prove that the MMR vaccine caused diseases, especially autism.
  • Alan Leslie
  • Derrick Lonsdale
  • Ole Ivar Lovaas – magazine, 1965.
  • Gary B. Mesibov
  • Marilyn J. Monteiro – teaches practitioners how to use conversational techniques to connect with children, build trust with the child's parents, and plan for successful interventions.
  • Paul Offit – about Autism's False Prophets::This book explores why parents, seeking in vain for a cure and for an explanation of their child's problem, are so vulnerable to false hopes and to the nasty predators who have from time immemorial always taken advantage of the desperate in our society.
  • Bernard Rimland – Jaquelyn McCandless, MD, calls Rimland "The grand godfather of the movement for understanding the biological treatment of autism". His book Infantile Autism, published in 1967, made short shrift of Bettelheim's theory of "refrigerator mothers".
  • Diana Seach – an English specialist in special education.
  • Peter Szatmari – (born 1950) is a Canadian researcher of Autism and Asperger syndrome.
  • Fred Volkmar
  • Andrew Wakefield – (born 1957) is a British former surgeon and medical researcher, known as an advocate for the discredited claim that there is a link between the MMR vaccine|measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, autism and bowel disease, and for his fraudulent 1998 research paper in support of that claim.
  • Lorna Wing – MD, FRCPsych, (born 7 October 1928) is an English psychiatrist and physician.


Sociological and cultural aspects of autism

  • Autism rights movement (ARM) – (also neurodiversity movement or anti-cure movement or autistic culture movement) is a social movement that encourages autistic people, their caregivers and society to adopt a position of neurodiversity, accepting autism as a variation in functioning rather than a mental disorder to be cured.
  • Autistic art – art created by autistic artists or art which captures or conveys a variety of autistic experiences or demeanor.
  • Neurodiversity
  • Neurotypical – (or NT) is a term that was coined in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum: specifically, neurotypical people have neurological development and states that are consistent with what most people would perceive as normal, particularly with respect to their ability to process linguistic information and social cues.
  • Sociological and cultural aspects of autism – come into play with recognition of autism, approaches to its support services and therapies, and how autism affects how we define personhood.


Organizations, stakeholder groups and events

  • 2000 Simpsonwood CDC conference – ) was a meeting convened in June 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), held at the Simpsonwood Methodist retreat and conference center in Norcross, Georgia.
  • Aspies For Freedom (AFF) – a solidarity and campaigning group which aims at raising public awareness of the autism rights movement.
  • Autism Awareness Campaign UK – The Autism Awareness Campaign UK were involved in the first United Nations World Autism Awareness Day, declared by the UN General Assembly on Wednesday 2 April 2008 on the recommendation of the State of Qatar.
  • Autism Network International – founded and run by autistic people. Parents and professionals are welcome but the focus is on living autistic rather than curing it.
  • Autism Resource Centre (Singapore)
  • Autism Society of America (ASA) – was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, PhD, together with Ruth C.
  • Autism Speaks – the world's largest autism advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public.
  • Autism Sunday – also known as the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger syndrome, is observed annually on the second Sunday of February.
  • Autistic Pride Day – a celebration of the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum on June 18 each year.
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network – a nonprofit advocacy organization run by and for individuals on the autism spectrum. ASAN holds that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as all other people, and that Autistic voices should be included in the national conversation about autism.
  • Autreat - founded by members of ANI, this is a yearly gathering for autistic people along with parents and professionals to meet and share ideas in an autism-friendly environment.
  • Children of the Stars
  • Center for Autism and Related Disorders
  • Generation Rescue – a nonprofit organization that advocates the view that autism and related disorders are primarily caused by environmental factors, particularly vaccines.
  • M.I.N.D. Institute
  • National Autistic Society (NAS) – a British charity for people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), including autism and Asperger Syndrome.
  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – a private non-profit 501(c)(3) advocacy group which questions the safety and efficacy of commonly used vaccines.
  • Sacar (charity)
  • Safe Minds
  • Thoughtful House
  • TreeHouse – a United Kingdom charity working to improve the quality of life of children diagnosed with autism and their families, and to inform the general public about autism spectrum disorders.
  • Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System – a United States program for vaccine safety, co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Wrong Planet – (sometimes referred to by its URL, WrongPlanet.

Therapies and interventions

Autism therapies

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA) – a science that involves using modern behavioral learning theory to modify behaviors.
  • Chelation therapy – the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body.
  • Clomipramine – (trademarked as Anafranil) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA).
  • Craniosacral therapy – (also called CST, also spelled Cranial Sacral bodywork or therapy) is an alternative medicine therapy used by physiotherapists, osteopaths, massage therapists, naturopaths, and chiropractors.
  • Ethical challenges to autism treatment
  • Floortime – a developmental intervention involving meeting a child at his or her current developmental level, and challenging them to move up the hierarchy of milestones outlined in the DIR Model.
  • Fluvoxamine – (brand name Luvox) is an antidepressant which functions as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
  • Gluten-free, casein-free diet – ) or gluten-free dairy-free diet (GFDF diet) eliminates dietary intake of the naturally occurring proteins gluten (found most often in wheat, barley, rye, and commercially available oats), and casein (found most often in milk and dairy products).
  • Haloperidol – a typical antipsychotic.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Hug machine – hug box, a squeeze machine, or a squeeze box, is a deep-pressure device designed to calm hyper-sensitive persons, usually individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Lovaas technique
  • Pivotal response therapy (PRT) – also referred to as pivotal response treatment or pivotal response training, is a behavioral intervention therapy for autism.
  • The P.L.A.Y. Project
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) – a trademarked proprietary treatment program for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), based on the belief that the development of dynamic intelligence is the key to improving the quality of life for individuals with autism.
  • Risperidone – (Risperdal, and generics) is a second-generation or atypical antipsychotic.
  • Secretin – a hormone that controls the secretions into the duodenum, and also separately, water homeostasis throughout the body.
  • Son-Rise
  • Speech therapy
  • Treatment and education of autistic and related communication handicapped children
  • Vitamin B12 – vitamin B-12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood.

Possibly associated conditions

Conditions comorbid to autism spectrum disorders These are conditions that people on the autism spectrum may suffer from more often than is typical.

  • Alexithymia – a term coined by psychotherapist Peter Sifneos in 1973 to describe a state of deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autistic enterocolitis – other studies have explicitly refuted its existence.
  • Clinical depression
  • Coeliac disease – spelled celiac disease in North America and often celiac sprue, is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward.
  • Communication disorder – a speech and language disorder which refers to problems in communication and in related areas such as oral motor function.
  • Crohn's disease (MAP) – which causes a similar disease, Johne's disease, in cattle.
  • Deafness – or hearing impairment, is a partial or total inability to hear where the ability would usually be expected.
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Dyscalculia – a specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic.
  • Dysgraphia – a deficiency in the ability to write primarily in terms of handwriting, but also in terms of coherence.
  • Dyslexia – a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid naming.
  • Echolalia – the automatic repetition of vocalizations made by another person.
  • Erotophobia – a term coined by a number of researchers in the late 1970s and early 1980s to describe one pole on a continuum of attitudes and beliefs about sexuality.
  • Hyperlexia – the precocious ability to read words without prior training in learning to read typically before the age of 5.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine.
  • Mental retardation (MR) – a generalized disorder appearing before adulthood, characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors.
  • Multiple-complex Developmental Disorder
  • Multisystem Developmental Disorder
  • Nonverbal learning disorder – or nonverbal learning disability (NLD or NVLD) is a condition characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal and lower motor, Theory_of_multiple_intelligences#Visual-spatial|visuo-spatial, and social skills on an IQ test.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Picture thinking
  • Pragmatic language impairment
  • Pyroluria
  • Sensory processing disorder – a disorder characterized by a sensory integration deficit.
  • Sensory defensiveness – a condition defined as having "a tendency to react negatively or with alarm to sensory input which is generally considered harmless or non-irritating" to neurotypical persons.
  • Sensory overload – related to Cognitive load in general, is a condition where one or more of the senses are strained and it becomes difficult to focus on the task at hand.
  • Social alienation – estrangement, division, or distancing of people from each other, or of people from what is important or meaningful to them, or of a person from their own sense of self.

See also

External links

  • This outline displayed as a mindmap at

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