Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 583–600

The validity of autistic spectrum disorders: A literature review

  • Peter Szatmari

DOI: 10.1007/BF01046329

Cite this article as:
Szatmari, P. J Autism Dev Disord (1992) 22: 583. doi:10.1007/BF01046329


The objective of this literature review is to assess the validity of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). Twenty papers were identified that adequately investigated the internal or external validity of various subtypes of ASD. At least three groups can be distinguished from autism on clinical grounds; an Asperger syndrome subtype, and two atypical subtypes characterized by low IQ and high IQ. However, the evidence that these clinical distinctions carry inferences with respect to etiology, clinical course, and treatment is only suggestive. Nevertheless, the specification of several ASD subtypes might promote further research and resolve many of the nosologic issues with respect to the classification of pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs).

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Szatmari
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMcMaster University, Patterson Building, Chedoke-McMaster HospitalsHamiltonCanada