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J Autism Dev Disord. 1999 Feb;29(1):45-56.

Autism and congenital blindness.

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Developmental Psychopathology Research Unit, Tavistock Clinic, London, England.


The nature of autism in congenitally blind children has long been a source of interest and perplexity. A group of nine congenitally blind children with an autism-like syndrome were closely matched on chronological age and verbal mental age with nine sighted autistic children, and were compared on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (Schopler, Reichler, & Renner, 1986) and the Behavior Checklist for Disordered Preschoolers, together with the Play Items for Disordered Preschoolers (Sherman, Shapiro, & Glassman, 1983). A checklist of clinical features characteristic of autism (derived from DSM-III-R) was also completed through an interview with teachers. There was substantial similarity between the groups, but also suggestive evidence of possible group differences, specifically in the domain of social-emotional responsiveness. Research on the psychological development of congenitally blind children promises to yield insights into the nature of autism itself.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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