Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Patricia Howlin

  • Iliana MagiatiEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102169-1

Emeritus Professor Patricia Howlin

BA, University of Sheffield, UK (1967); MSC Clinical Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, London (1968); PhD, Institute of Psychiatry, London (1979); Fellow, British Psychological Society (1990).

Major Appointments (Institution, Location, Dates)

Emeritus Professor Patricia Howlin held her first academic appointment as lecturer and then senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry (IOP) at King’s College London, UK from 1973 to 1992. She subsequently became a professor in clinical psychology at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, UK. In 2006, she was appointed to the first Chair of Clinical Child Psychology in the UK at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IOPPN), King’s College London, until her retirement from full-time academia in 2014. She continues to be actively involved in research and teaching and is currently an emeritus professor of clinical child psychology at the IOPPN and a professor of developmental disability at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is also an adjunct professor at Curtin University, Western Australia, and Griffiths University, Queensland, and visiting professor at the Oslo University Hospital, Norway.

Major Honors and Awards

Prof. Howlin has received numerous honors and awards throughout her professional career. She was made a fellow of the British Psychological Society in 1990. More recently, in 2009, the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes, UK named their annual lecture after her (the Patricia Howlin Prize Lecture), while the Autism Association of Western Australia honored her for her services to autism. In 2013, she won the 2013 International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2015, she was honored for her contributions to autism research by the German, Austrian, and Swiss Society for Research in Autism Spectrum Conditions.

Landmark Clinical, Scientific, and Professional Contributions

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Patricia Howlin together with Prof. Sir Michael Rutter and other colleagues from the Maudsley Hospital, London published a landmark systematic study – the first in the UK and one of the very first internationally – to demonstrate the effectiveness of parents as therapists for their children with ASD.

Among her many contributions to conducting high-quality, systematic research on issues that were always highly relevant to the needs and priorities of the autism community over the years, three aspects of her work in particular were most prominent in driving the field forward:
  1. 1.

    Her work in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s on systematically monitoring, evaluating, and reporting outcomes following behavioral, communication, social, and other comprehensive and focal interventions for individuals with ASD.

  2. 2.

    Her committed focus on the importance of research evidence and of “translating” empirical findings for families and clinicians to support them in making informed decisions.

  3. 3.

    Her research studies published in the 1990s and 2000s on adult outcomes. These were some of the largest and longest term internationally follow-up studies of individuals with ASD first assessed in childhood and followed up in adulthood, and were instrumental in documenting the poor educational, employment, and social outcomes of many adults with ASD, thus firmly placing the urgent need for research and support for adults with ASD on the ASD “map” and agenda.


Short Biography

Emeritus Prof. Patricia Howlin, Ph.D., is a consultant clinical psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts in autism spectrum and related neurodevelopmental/genetic disorders. Throughout her career, she has held a number of academic and clinical appointments in the UK and internationally and has been involved in numerous collaborative and impactful research studies on the effectiveness of comprehensive and focal interventions, mental health and quality of life, and adult outcomes in ASD.

She is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed research publications on ASD, which have been cited thousands of times. She has also written or cowritten many books on ASD and related conditions which have been translated into a number of different languages, of which Treatment of Autistic Children in 1987 with Michael Rutter, Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome in 1998, and Autism and Asperger syndrome – Preparing for adulthood in 2004 are especially noteworthy for positively influencing and supporting families and professionals and for bringing scientific knowledge about ASD into the wider community.

In addition to her work in ASD, she has in more recent years extended her research focus to include other neurodevelopmental genetic disorders (i.e., Williams, Down, Angelman, and Cornelia de Lange syndromes). The recipient of multiple awards for her contributions to the field of ASD (including an INSAR lifetime achievement award and the Kanner Asperger award from the German Scientific Association for Autism Research), she was the founding editor of Autism: the International Journal of Research and Practice, while she currently serves as the President of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes.

She continues to lecture internationally and holds a number of visiting appointments and collaborations with leading learning and research institutions in Japan, Australia, Norway, and elsewhere. In addition to her scientific contributions, she has worked closely over many years as an advisor, consultant, or advocate with the National Autistic Society (NAS) in the UK and many other voluntary and community organizations to improve awareness, understanding, support, and funding for individuals with ASD and other genetic neurodevelopmental conditions across all ages and levels of ability.

References and Readings

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Green, J., Charman, T., McConachie, H., Aldred, C., Slonims, V., Howlin, P., Le Couteur, A., et al. (2010). Parent-mediated communication-focused treatment for preschool children with autism (MRC PACT); a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 375(9732), 2152–2160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Howlin, P. (2000). Outcome in adult life for more able individuals with autism or Asperger syndrome. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice, 4, 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Howlin, P. (2004a). Interventions for individuals with autism: Transition to adulthood. Journal of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies, 4, 223–232.Google Scholar
  4. Howlin, P. (2010). Evaluating psychological treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 16, 133–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Howlin, P. (2013). Social disadvantage and exclusion: Adults with autism lag far behind in employment prospects. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(9), 897–899.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Howlin, P., & Udwin, O. (2006). Outcome in adult life for people with Williams syndrome – Results from a survey of 239 families. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 50, 151–160.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Howlin, P., Marchant, R., Rutter, M., Berger, M., Hersov, L., & Yule, W. (1973). A home-based approach to the treatment of autistic children. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 3, 308–336. Howlin, P. (1982).CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Howlin, P., Mawhood, L. M., & Rutter, M. (2000). Autism and developmental receptive language disorder – a comparative follow-up in early adult life. II: Social, behavioural and psychiatric outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 561–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Howlin, P., Goode, S., Hutton, J., & Rutter, M. (2004). Adult outcomes for children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 212–229.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Howlin, P., Alcock, J., & Burkin, C. (2005). An 8 year follow-up of a specialist supported employment service for high-ability adults with autism or Asperger syndrome. Autism, 9(5), 533–549.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Howlin, P., Magiati, I., & Charman, T. (2009). A systematic review of early intensive behavioral interventions (EIBI) for children with autism. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 114, 23–41.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Howlin, P., Elison, S., & Stinton, C. (2010). Cognitive, linguistic and adaptive functioning in Williams syndrome: Trajectories from early to middle adulthood. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 23(4), 322–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Howlin, P., Moss, P., Savage, S., Tempier, A., & Rutter, M. (2014). Cognitive and language skills in adults with autism: A 40 year follow-up. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(1), 49–58.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Magiati, I., Tay, X. W., & Howlin, P. (2014). Cognitive, language, social and behavioural outcomes in adults with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review of longitudinal follow-up studies in adulthood. Clinical Psychology Review, 34(2014), 73–86.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Mawhood, L. M., Howlin, P., & Rutter, M. (2000). Autism and developmental receptive language disorder – a comparative follow-up in early adult life. I: Cognitive and language outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 547–559.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Selected Books

  1. Howlin, P. (1997). Autism: Preparing for adulthood. London: Routledge. (Winner of the NASAN 1997 Academic Book Award).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Howlin, P. (1998). Children with autism and Asperger syndrome. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Howlin, P. (2004b). Autism and Asperger syndrome – preparing for adulthood. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Howlin, P., & Rutter, M. (1987). Treatment of autistic children. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Howlin, P., Baron-Cohen, S., Hadwin, J., & Swettenham, J. (1998). A practical manual for teaching theory of mind to children with autism. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Howlin, P., Charman, T., & Ghazziudin, M. (Eds.). (2011). The sage handbook of developmental disorders. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore