Infantile autism and developmental receptive dysphasia: A comparative follow-up into middle childhood

  • Dennis P. Cantwell
  • Lorian Baker
  • Michael Rutter
  • Lynn Mawhood


An interim follow-up study of a group of “higher functioning” boys with infantile autism and control group of boys with severe (receptive) developmental language disorder (or dysphasia) is reported. The boys were compared both initially and at follow-up for overall functioning in the areas of language, peer relationships, stereotyped behaviors, and disruptive public behaviors, as well as for the presence of a number of specific symptoms. In some respects, the behaviors that differentiated the groups initially did so also at follow-up, although there were important differences. Very few of the autistic boys had good language skills at follow-up, whereas nearly half of the dysphasic group were communicating well, a difference that is striking in view of the initial general similarity between the groups in terms of poor language functioning. However, some of the dysphasic children had developed greater difficulties in peer relationships. The implications for concepts of the nature of the deficit in severe receptive developmental language disorders are considered.


School Psychology Great Difficulty Language Skill General Similarity Specific Symptom 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis P. Cantwell
    • 1
  • Lorian Baker
    • 1
  • Michael Rutter
    • 2
  • Lynn Mawhood
    • 2
  1. 1.Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, Center for Health SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.MRC Child Psychiatry UnitInstitute of PsychiatryLondon

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