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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2001 Mar;42(3):309-16.

Exploring the cognitive phenotype of autism: weak "central coherence" in parents and siblings of children with autism: II. Real-life skills and preferences.

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Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, UK.


Information on everyday life activities and preferences in both social and nonsocial domains was obtained from parents and children who had taken part in an experimental study of central coherence. Comparisons were made between parents who had a son with autism, parents with a dyslexic son, and families without a history of developmental disorder, as well as the male siblings in these families. Data on everyday preferences and abilities were elicited by means of an experimental questionnaire. Significant group differences in social and nonsocial preferences were found, suggesting that some parents showed similarities with their son with autism, in preference for nonsocial activities and ability in detail-focused processing. A similar experimental questionnaire, completed by parents on behalf of their sons, discriminated between autism group probands and controls, but did not differentiate sibling groups. The relevance of the nonsocial items to central coherence is discussed in the light of the findings in Part I: autism parents who reported more autism-related nonsocial (but not social) preferences, tended to show a piecemeal processing style on the experimental tasks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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