International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Part of the series Autism and Child Psychopathology Series pp 321-338


Intensive Early Intervention

  • Svein EikesethAffiliated withFaculty of Behavioral Science, Akershus University College Email author 

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Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) characterized by severe impairment in social interaction and communication along with high rates of ritualistic and stereotyped behavior (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). It is one of the most common developmental disorders. The prevalence rate for all forms of PDD is estimated to be around 3–11 per 1,000, and childhood autism is estimated to have a prevalence of approximately 1–4 per 1,000 (Baird et al., 2006; Fombonne, 2003). Researchers have shown that 50–80% of children with autism have intellectual disabilities (Baird et al., 2006; Fombonne, 1999) and that the majority will require professional care throughout their lives (Billstedt, Gillberg, & Gillberg, 2005).