The Search for the Etiology of Autism
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This special section on autism etiology began with the paper submitted to The Analysis of Verbal Behavior by Drash and Tutor, who propose that autism is a contingency-shaped disorder of verbal behavior. The five papers that follow the Drash and Tutor paper provide reactions to their analysis by several behavior analysts working in the autism field. Only one of the five (Malott) is fully supportive of Drash and Tudor’s analysis of autism as a completely contingency-shaped disorder. The other four authors recognize the importance of environmental variables in the development and maintenance of autistic behavior, but caution against the neglect of genetic and other variables such as environmental intrusion, and insist that a complete behavioral theory of the etiology of autism must involve all three variables. The series ends with Drash and Tutor’s response to the five papers.
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