Brain Differences in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Subsequent Impact on Learning

  • Diane BransonEmail author
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 7)


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by deficits in social and communication behaviors and includes restricted interests and stereotypical behaviors. Although the definitive cause of autism is unknown at this time, researchers believe that autism arises from a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers. Neurobiological testing has demonstrated that the brain of an individual diagnosed with autism differs in several ways from the brain of an individual with typical development. Currently, it is unknown whether the differences in brain anatomy and function cause autism or are the result of how a child with autism receives input from their environment. The fact that early intervention leads to better outcomes for children with autism seems to indicate that some of the differences in brain anatomy and activity could be prevented if the child is identified and enrolled in early intervention services prior to the age of 3 years. This chapter will describe some of the anatomical brain differences attributed to autism, cognitive deficits and strengths associated with autism, and strategies for early childhood educators to use to support learning and behavior for a child with autism in their early childhood classroom.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorder Functional Connectivity Early Childhood Teacher Universal Design 
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 Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cooperative ExtensionUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA

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