Autism: contents and limitations of the syndrome
This article deals with the question which behavioural deviations might be included in autism. For answering this question, a good correlation of diagnostic behaviour patterns was taken as a starting point. The behaviour of 25 childeren with severe disturbances in their social relationships, including autism in only part of the cases, was recorded in a clinic. Three types of social communication of the child, viz. looking at, speech initiatives, and the continuation of communications started by an adult appeared to be well correlated with each other. Low quantities thereof can be considered to be characteristic of autism. The degree of withdrawal, based on these three characteristics, was not correlated with intelligente, ability to speak stereotyped behaviour and the simultaneous presence of other child psychiatric deviances. For this reason, it is recommended to restrict the term autism to social withdrawal and to specify other handicaps separately.