Overview of Autism

Introduction

The first class lecture provides an overview of diagnostic concepts and an introduction to autism and related disorders. Prof. Fred Volkmar addresses the question of "What is Autism?" and outlines the Autism Seminar course as a whole.

Featured Reading

Featured reading from Lecture 1 comes from:

Chapter 1, What is Autism? from "A Practical Guide to Autism"

Volkmar, Fred; Wiesner, Lisa. "A Practical Guide to Autism". John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey, 2009. Pp 1- 24.

Find this book online at the Publisher's website.

Reading List

Below are the assigned readings from the Overview of Autism lecture.

Overview of Autism, with Prof. Fred Volkmar: Readings

Volkmar, F.R., & Wiesner, L. (2009) Chapter 3: Getting a diagnosis. In A Practical Guide to Autism. Wiley, pp. 45-86.

General overview of assessment and diagnostic issues in Autism.

Find this book online at the Publisher's website.

Tsatsanis, K.D. (2007) Psychological and Neuropsychological Assessment of Children. In A. Martin & F. Volkmar (Eds.), Lewis Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: A Comprehensive Textbook, 4th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

An overview and explanation of the principles and constructs of psychological and neuropsychological assessment in general (not specific to ASD).

Find this book online at the Publisher's website.

Klin, A., Saulnier, C.D., Tsatsanis, K.D., & Volkmar, F.R. (2005) Clinical evaluation in autism spectrum disorders: Psychological assessment within a transdisciplinary framework. In F.R. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders: 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons.

Detailed description of the assessment issues in autism spectrum disorders, guidelines for assessment, and overview of instruments.

Find this book online at the Publisher's website, or preview it in Google Books.

Tsatsanis, K.D. (2005) Neuropsychological characteristics of autism and related conditions. In F.R. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders: 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons.

Comprehensive review of the literature on the neuropsychological characteristics of ASDs, including sensory, attention, memory, executive functioning, and intellectual profiles.

Preview this article in Google Books. Find this book online at the Publisher's website.

Tsatsanis, K.D. (2004). Heterogeneity in learning style in Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism. Topics in Language Disorders, 24(4), 260-270.

Provides a description of the different learning profiles in individuals with high-functioning autism compared to Asperger syndrome and implications for intervention.

View the Abstract at the Topics in Language Disorders journal website.

Overview of Autism, with Prof. Ami Klin

Volkmar, F.R., & Wiesner, L. (2009) Chapter 5: An Overview of Educational Programs. In A Practical Guide to Autism. Wiley, pp. 119-148.

Summarizes educational interventions.

Find this book online at the Publisher's website.

Howlin, P. (2005) Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Chapter 7 in Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, 3rd ed. F. Volkmar, A. Klin, R., Paul, & D. Cohen, Eds., Hoboken NJ: Wiley, pp. 201-222.

This chapter summarizes data on outcome in autism including changes in outcome over time and factors predicting outcome.

Preview Chapter 7 in Google Books. Find this book online at the Publisher's website.

Koegel, L. K., & LaZebnik, C. (2004). Overcoming autism. New York: Penguin Books.

An excellent and very readable introduction to behavioral treatment methods in autism.

National Research Council. (2001). Educating Children with Autism. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

This book provides a highly detailed review of programs with peer-reviewed data on intervention in younger (preschool and young school age) children with autism.

Read this book at the National Academies Press website.

Volkmar, F.R., & Wiesner, L. (2009) Chapter 6: Educational Interventions. In A Practical Guide to Autism. Wiley, pp. 149-1928.

This chapter focuses on specific techniques used in educational programs.

Find this book online at the Publisher's website.

Media and Other Resources

In this class session, Dr. Ami Klin gives the second part of the lecture, Overview of Autism.

Other Yale Resources

Religion and the Future of China

This collection of videos records the Council on Foreign Relations’ symposium as they address issues such as how religion is shaping the international spectrum, the interplay between religion and foreign policy, and more specifically, how these issues are affecting China.

Other Yale resource 2 in overview of autism

In this audio clip, Vásquez discusses his belief that in the global age, religious dynamics may have a boomerang effect across the Americas with dramatic consequences. In addition, he explores how religion will shape the increasing Hispanic population and how religion itself might be changed.

External Resources

The New Faces of Christianity: Bible Believers in the Global South

Philip Jenkins delivers a speech at the Carnegie Council on Religion and Politics, and discusses the phenomena that prompted his latest book: the rapid rise of Christianity in parts of Africa and Asia.

A reality check on autism and vaccines- SFGate

Dr. Wakefield's 1998 study that claimed to link a combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine to autism has been officially retracted by the British medical journal in which it originally appeared. The study has frequently been cited by anti-vaccine groups.

An Outbreak of Autism, or a Statistical Fluke? - NYTimes

The Minnesota Department of Health is conducting an epidemiological survey of an apparent surge of autism cases in the Somali immigrant community of Minneapolis. The department is attempting to determine whether the rise is an outbreak or a statistical fluke.

Asperger's Officially Placed Inside Autism Spectrum - NPR

The American Psychiatric Association has decided to classify Asperger's syndrome as a form of autism. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) will reflect this change.

Autism Center - University of Washington

The Autism Center at the University of Washington's list of recommended books and articles on autism.

What is Autism? - Autism Speaks

An overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) provided by Autism Speaks.

British Journal Retracts Paper Linking Autism and Vaccines - NYTimes

Dr. Wakefield's 1998 study that claimed to link a combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine to autism has been officially retracted by the British medical journal in which it originally appeared. The retraction followed a journalist's discovery of several scientific and financial conflicts that Dr. Wakefield did not reveal in his study.

Study Links Ages of Both Parents to the Risk of Autism - NYTimes

Researchers have found that older mothers are more likely to have a child with autism and that older fathers significantly contribute to the risk of the disorder when their partners are under 30. This finding was published in the journal Autism Research and reflects an analysis of almost five million births in California during the 1990s.

Faculty and Guest Bios

Bio Profile

Ami Klin

Harris Professor of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Ami Klin, Ph.D. is the Harris Professor of Child Psychology and Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of London, and completed clinical and research post-doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center. 

He directs the Autism Program at Yale, which is one of the designated National Institutes of Health Autism Centers of Excellence. This program includes a broad range of diagnostic and treatment services, and an interdisciplinary program of...

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Bio Profile

Fred Volkmar, MD

Irving B. Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Psychology

Education

MA, Stanford University, 1976

MD, Stanford University, 1976

Research Interests

Asperger Syndrome; Autistic Disorder; Child Psychiatry; Neuropsychology; Psychiatry and Psychology

Clinical Interests

Autistic Disorder; Developmental Disabilities

Fred R. Volkmar, M.D. is Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center, School of Medicine. A graduate of the University of Illinois where he received in undergraduate degree in psychology in 1972 and of Stanford University where he received his M.D. and a master’s degree in psychology in 1976 Dr. Volkmar was the primary author of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV autism and pervasive developmental disorders...

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