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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2006 Jan;113(1):68-72.

A view to regressive autism through home movies. Is early development really normal?

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Department of Developmental Neurosciences, Scientific Institute Stella Maris, University of Pisa, Calambrone (Pisa), Italy.



To describe early development of children with regressive autism.


Home movies from the first 18 months of life of three groups of children with early onset autism (EOA), regressive autism (RA) and typical development (TD) were rated through the Grid for Attention in Infants in three age ranges. Different ANOVA and post hoc-tests were conducted on frequencies of behaviours.


Differently from TD, for both RA and EOA non-social attention is higher than social attention across ages. While EOA is characterized by an early deficit in social attention, in RA social attention increases until the first birthday when its decrease proceeds at the same rate as the increase of non-social attention.


We hypothesize that the intense interest towards objects can be the first sign of an atypical development also in RA; this distinguishing feature lead us to believe that regression, based on the assumption of a previous normal development, is only apparent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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