, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 33-47

Autism in children with congenital rubella

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In the course of studying the behavioral characteristics of 243 preschool children with congenital rubella, we identified the syndrome of autism in 10 children and a partial syndrome of autism in an additional 8. These findings are discussed against the background of the behavioral investigations of rubella children. The methodology of our psychiatric study and the criteria for a diagnosis of autism are presented. The incidence of autism is considered with regard to the prevalence of other psychiatric disorders in this group and the physical status of the children. Two case histories of autistic rubella children are given and their behavioral characteristics are contrasted with nonautistic rubella children with matching sensory and other defects. The prevalence rate is compared with that found in two epidemiological studies and also with the rate indicated by other centers studying rubella children. Etiological implications of these findings are discussed. It is argued that these data support the concept of organic causation of the syndrome of autism.

This study was done under a grant from the Children's Bureau, HEW No. H-220 (C2).