Is the search for a unitary explanation of autistic spectrum disorders justified? [2]

  • Boucher J
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I have been reviewing current theoretical explanations of autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) recently, and am struck by the fact that some influential theorists continue to search for a 'single common pathway' to the triad of impairments, without apparently questioning whether or not this is a logical, evidence-based search. Evidence from the broader autism phenotype suggests that the socio-communicative impairments and repetitious behaviors diagnostic of autistic disorder and Asperger syndrome. We do not have information about prevalence rates of autistic-type socio-communicative impairments or of autistic-type repetitive behaviors in the general population. There is an additional reason for being cautious about looking for a single common pathway when trying to explain ASDs. This is that if these three types of impairment can occur independently of each other in the broader autism phenotype, then the explanation of each impairment will be different in at least one critical respect. In other words, the set of necessary and sufficient conditions for each to occur will be different. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

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  • Jill Boucher

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