The Role Of Impairment In Autistic Children

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The concept of autism as a spectrum has developed over time, as researchers and clinicians have discovered that autism appears in different ways across different individuals. Impairments within socialisation, communication and imagination are the essential areas of deficit and consistently cluster together. Wing and Gould ‘s (1979) study of the Camberwell area in London demonstrated the association, showing that socially impaired groups displayed significant impairments in language and engaged in little imaginary play. Even children that displayed language development delays struggled with social interaction and imaginary play similarly to their limited speech counterparts.

When considering these impairments, controlling for variances in IQ and additional learning difficulties there is a pattern of specific impairments that are associated with the severity of the autism. Additionally, individuals with autism demonstrate varying degrees of social understanding, as suggested by Happé (1994) attachment behaviour is still present. Therefore, a specific aspect of development must be central to determine this pattern of impairments.

Various studies have attempted to address which particular elements culminate in affecting the systems responsible for social interaction and specifically why this is impaired in
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Inabilities to understand emotional affect is attributed to the limited discrimination of emotional states, children learn via play and use the mother’s facial expression as a form of social referencing (Happé, 1994). If the mother reacts with disgust, fear or appears happy the child recognises these emotional expressions and with age and experience, recognising them as internal emotional
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