ASPERGER'S SYNDROME AND AUTISM: COMPARISON OF EARLY HISTORY AND OUTCOME
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The authors compared children with Asperger syndrome (AS) with high-functioning autistic children and psychiatric outpatient controls on measures of early history and outcome. In terms of their early history, the autistic probands showed more social impairment, a higher frequency of echolalia and pronoun reversal, and a more restricted range of activities than the AS group. Cluster analysis suggested refinements to the diagnostic criteria, which resulted in larger differences between the groups on these early history measures. In terms of their outcome, the autistic probands spent more time in special education classes but developed fewer accessory psychiatric symptoms than the AS children. It was clear, however, that there were no substantive, qualitative differences between the AS and autistic groups, indicating that AS should be considered a mild form of high-functioning autism. The inclusion of AS among the autistic spectrum of disorders has implications both for aetiological studies and for prevalence estimates of the pervasive developmental disorders.
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