, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 287-295

A Comparison of Social Skills in Adults with Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, and Mental Retardation

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We examined the social skills of adults with autism, PDDNOS, and mental retardation. All participants were diagnosed with profound mental retardation. Participants in the autism and PDDNOS groups had been previously diagnosed using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and record review. These diagnoses were confirmed by readministering the CARS by one author and an independent rater. Social skills were assessed by using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales and the Matson Evaluation of Social Skills in the Severely Retarded. Significant differences between the autism and mental retardation groups were found on both measures. The PDDNOS group demonstrated better positive nonverbal social skills than the autism group but not the mental retardation group. Special treatment needs of institutionalized adults with autism appear warranted along with a need to clarify further the differences between PDDNOS and mental retardation.