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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1997 Sep;38(6):693-703.

Are there "autistic-like" features in congenitally blind children?

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Tavistock Clinic, London, U.K.


Twenty-four congenitally blind children between 3 and 9 years of age were studied for the prevalence of "autistic-like" features, as assessed by teacher reports and by systematic observations of the children's behaviour. A comparison between the 15 blind children who had IQs over 70 and 10 sighted children group-matched for age and verbal ability revealed that a number of autistic-like features were more common in the blind. When the nine blind children who had IQs less than 70 were compared with nine group-matched autistic children, the picture that emerged was of substantial overlap in clinical presentation, despite subtle differences on clinical impression. Similar results were obtained when blind subgroups were reconstituted according to the children's nonautistic or autistic-like clinical presentation, rather than IQ. These findings are discussed in relation to competing theories concerning the development of autism and "theory of mind".

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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