1. Autism and
A powerpoint by Sidney Black
2. The Autism Spectrum
Shows the different PDD’s (Pervasive
Developmental Disorders) and their severity.
Both Autism and Asperger’s syndrome are on
the spectrum because they share similar
Also lists the social and behavioral
deficiencies that are present for each disorder
3. Diagnosis for Autism
Impairment in social interaction
Includes difficulties in understanding
and using nonverbal communication
including eye contact, facial expressions
and posture during conversation.
Impairment in communication
Delay in or total lack of spoken language
Restricted or repetitive and stereotyped
behaviors, interests, and activities
May be a fixation with stereotyped and
restricted Interests or a strong preoccupation
with parts of Objects. frequent routines are
repeated and Repetitive stereotyped
movements such as Finger flapping or hand
twisting are present.(Rodriguez 2011)
4. Diagnosis for Asperger’s syndrome
• Must show impairments in social
interaction like Autism number 1
• Must show repetitive interests
, behaviors, and activities as
described in autism number 3
• Must not show a significant delay in
the use of language. (Rodriguez 2011)
5. Autism, Asperger’s and abnormal serotonin levels
Serotonin controls some of the moods
and behaviors that are altered in ASD
Scientists believe that lack of serotonin
in the brain may result in Autism and
A study with mice showed that mice
with low serotonin levels exhibit autistic
behaviors such as socializing less and
It has also been found that medication
that boosts serotonin levels is affective
at lessening some symptoms in Autism
patients (Rodriguez 2011)
6. Abnormal brain growth associated with Autism and Asperger’s
It has been shown that the brains of people with
ASD grow at a different pace than the brains of
people without ASD
At birth the brains are the same size. By two to
four years of age the brain volume of babies
with ASD is 5 to 10 percent larger than a normal
This is called Marcophaly.
This is not present in all ASD children. Some
may have a smaller brain and others may have a
normal sized brain.
It is still unclear why this happens in children
with ASD. (Rodriguez 2011)
7. Abnormal brain growth continued
The amygdala has often been associated with ASD because it
controls aspects of social behavior
In most children the amygdala grows slowly until adolescence when it
reaches adult size. In ASD children the amygdala grows fast and
reaches adult size before adolescence
This abnormal growth may result in some of the social behaviors of
ASD sufferers such as the difficulty to recognize faces and to
understand emotions. (Attwood 2007)
8. University of California, Davis amygdala study
o Scientist as University of California, Davis studied a
group of boys with ASD and a control group of
same aged boys without ASD
o They observed that the amygdala of the two
groups were the same volume but the ASD boys
had fewer neurons, or brain cells, compared to the
o Scientists are attempting to determine why the
amygdalae of autistic brains tend to grow faster
and have fewer neurons than those without ASD
9. Studies of electrical activity in the brain with EEG
Scientists have done EEG studies on people
without ASD and compared them to those of
people with ASD.
Through these they have figured out that
ASD brains work differently than non-ASD
In one set of experiments scientists
compared EEG’s during sleep. They
compared the EEG’s of people with ASD and
people without ASD.
The comparisons showed that when people
without ASD sleep they have greater activity
on the front and back areas of the right side
of the cortex. When people with ASD sleep
they have increased activity only on the front
of the cortex.(Rodriguez 2011)
10. Theory of mind
The theory of mind refers to the awareness
that other people have
beliefs, knowledge, and desires different
from our own (Rodriguez 2011)
Most people with Autism and Asperger’s
syndrome lack this type of understanding.
Some scientists believe this may have to do
with a lack of mirror neurons in the brains of
people with ASD which inhibits their ability
to read peoples faces and decipher what it is
that other people are feeling.(Attwood 2007)
11. Theory of mind cont.
• simple tests are used to see if this theory is functioning in
•The picture on this slide is an example of one of these such
tests which is usually shown as a video to children with
•Children under the age of 5 and children with ASD will say
that Sally will look for the ball in the box because they do
not yet understand that other people do not think the way
that they do or see all the things they see.
•This ability to distinguish different perspectives usually
does not develop in ASD children or adults on it’s own but
people with ASD can work on this skill and improve upon it.
12. Thank you for watching this power point. I hope you
will take away from this that even though people it
Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger’s
syndrome and Autism may do things differently than
us they are not a completely different breed of people.
Their brains are simply wired to think a little
differently than our own.
13. Annotated Bibliography
Attwood, Tony. The complete guide to Asperger's syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley
Publishers, 20062007. Print.
This source offered some specific information relating to Asperger’s syndrome. It discussed diagnosis, brain growth,
and many other aspects.
Doris , Izuwah. "Assesment of Autism Spectrum Disorders." EBSCO Publishing Service
Selection Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2012.
This source offered a lot of information about Autism Spectrum Disorders in general. It also had iformation about the Autism
Flood, Z.C., D.L.J Engel, C.C. Simon, K.R. Negherbon, L.J. Murphy, W. Tamavimok,
G.M. Anderson, and S. Janusonis. "Brain growth trajectories in mouse strains
with central and peripheral serotonin differences: relevance to autism models. .“
EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2012
This source discussed how serotonin effects people with ASD disorders. It talked about an experiment with mice that showed
how serotonin caused Autism symptoms in the mice.
14. Bibliography continued
Ritvo, Edward . Understanding the Nature of Autism and Asperger's Disorder Forty
Years of Clinical Practice and Pioneering Research.. London: Jessica Kingsley
Publishers, 2005. Print.
This book offered some information on ASD disorders in general. It also had a lot of studies that this man
Had done and personal cases he had dealt with.
Rodriguez, Ana Maria. Autism spectrum disorders. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century
Books, 2011. Print.
This book was the most recent one so it had the best information in it. There were many different explanations
of ASD and the disorders involved with it.