Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 107-125

First online:

Autism: Etiology, differential diagnosis, and behavioral assessment update

  • LeAdelle PhelpsAffiliated withState University of New York at Buffalo
  • , Jo -Anne GrabowskiAffiliated withState University of New York at Buffalo

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Significant advances in neurophysiological and psychopharmacological research necessitates updating professionals in the etiology, differential diagnosis, and general assessment considerations of autism. A review of the DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria is followed by an extensive description of etiological theories based on recent advances in neurobiological research. The article describes components of making a differential diagnosis of autism from mental retardation, schizophrenia, and developmental language/speech disorders and delineates the psychometric properties of cognitive ability and behavioral rating instruments frequently used with this population. Pharmacological treatment and behavioral intervention issues are reviewed.

Key words

autism differential diagnosis pharmacological treatment behavioral interventions