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Med J Aust. 1976 Mar 6;1(10):299-301.

Infantile autism: the incidence of national groups in a New South Wales survey.


In a survey on the occurrence of infantile autism in New South Wales it was found that 21-9% of children had at least one foreign-born parent whose native language was not English. In terms of population incidence for New South Wales, Italy and Yugoslavia were under-represented while Greece and Germany were significantly over-represented. The stresses faced by migrants in a new country were discussed in terms of possible contributing agents and in particular, the cultural traditions of the Greeks and their adjustment problems were highlighted. It was suggested that the stresses of cultural change and the socioeconomic pressures borne by the parents resulted in deprivation of their children who were also exposed to a confused language environment, and that a combination of these variables could lead to decompensation into an autistic state in an already vulnerable child.

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