Introduction to Behavioral Issues in Autism

  • Eric Schopler
  • Gary B. Mesibov
Part of the Current Issues in Autism book series (CIAM)


Although there are many definitions of the autism syndrome (Ritvo & Freeman, 1978; Rutter & Schopler, 1992), all of them consistently identify social, communication, and behavioral peculiarities and deficits. The social deficits are often the most compelling and are the reason why Leo Kanner (1943) chose the term autism to describe this group of children in his seminal paper. Communication deficits typically are the most interesting because of their idiosyncrasies and deviance from normal development. Communication characteristics include such diversity as total muteness, pronoun reversals, echolalia, and repetitive statements. The behavior difficulties in autism are not as easy to characterize or describe. They can be simply humorous and trivial deviations from what we generally expect to see in others, such as enjoying the click of an automobile turn signal or loving to watch the rhythm of a garbage truck picking up its cargo. Characteristic behaviors also can be more extreme—even devastating—such as the self-injurious, destructive behaviors that sometimes dominate the lives of these children and their families. Between these two extremes are a wide range of behavior problems that emerge from frustration over problems with communication, interactions, and understanding.


Behavior Problem Pervasive Developmental Disorder Behavioral Difficulty Behavior Difficulty Autism Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Schopler
    • 1
  • Gary B. Mesibov
    • 1
  1. 1.Division TEACCH, School of MedicineThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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