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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1983 Oct;24(4):613-20.

An islet of ability in autistic children: a research note.


An aspect of cognitive functioning in autistic children was investigated by comparing their performance on the Children's Embedded Figures Test with that of MA-matched normal and MA- and CA-matched mentally retarded non-autistic children. The autistic children were significantly more competent at this task than either group of control children, and also showed qualitatively different strategies. Since the performance of the autistic children was better than predicted from MA and commensurate with CA, it can be regarded as an islet of ability. This finding is discussed in terms of orientation and visualization factors involved in visuo-spatial abilities and is also related to cognitive deficit.

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