The Nature of the Neuropsychological Disability in Autistic Children

  • Marian K. DeMyer


After Kanner (1943) first described infantile autism, the basic biological intelligence of these children was regarded as potentially normal in most cases. The reasons for this belief were the presence of splinter skills, “intelligent” faces, few reports of motor dysfunction, and “refusal” to perform when age-appropriate items from intelligence tests were presented to them. One widely held theory advanced to explain these “facts” was that most if not all autistic (Aut) children had anatomically normal brains, and that relatively high splinter skills were a “true” reflection of their potential intelligence. If the right treatment key could be found, then the seriously delayed verbal intelligence would advance in an accelerated fashion to catch up with the splinter skills and with the norms for the child’s chronological age. Our research shows:
  1. 1.

    That the intelligence of Aut children can be measured reliably and validly.

  1. 2.

    That the IQ has good predictive power about the child’s eventual functioning.

  1. 3.

    That most Aut children have subnormal intelligence.

  1. 4.

    That in only a few children does the Verbal (Vb) IQ reach normal levels, no matter how intense the treatment and education.



Peabody Picture Vocabulary Infantile Autism Expressive Speech Emotional Withdrawal Childhood Schizophrenia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian K. DeMyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Psychiatric ResearchIndiana University Medical CenterIndianapolisUSA

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