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CASD 7317X/CBSE 7685T Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders: Theoretical Models

Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders, Professor Susan Longtin

About Theoretical Models

This unit addresses different explanatory ideas on the etiologies of ASD. Several cognitive and sociocognitive processes have been proposed as accounting for the underlying nature of the condition.  These notions, which are as different as the spectrum itself, include 1) executive functioning, 2) theory of mind, 3)  central coherence, and the 4) mirror neurons system.

Unit III Reading: Theoretical Models

autism handbook volkmar1) McPartland, J.C., Tillman, R.M., Yang, D. Y.,  Bernier, R.A., Pelfrey, K.A. (2014).The social neuroscience of autism spectrum disorders. In Volkmar, F.R., Rogers, S.J., Paul, R., & Pelfrey, K.A. (Eds.)  Handbook on autism and pervasive developmental disorders, fourth edition, vol.1: Diagnosis, development, and brain mechanisms (pp.482-496). NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

This reading (chapter 20) provides information on the neural substrates of some of the social challenges of ASD including social perception, action understanding and mental state reasoning. The authors suggest interconnectivity among the various neural systems that are implicated in ASD.  Theory of Mind (TOM) and the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) are discussed.

2) Vivanti, G. & Hamilton, A. (2014).  Imitation in autism spectrum disorders.   (2014).The social neuroscience of autism spectrum disorders. In Volkmar, F.R., Rogers, S.J., Paul, R., & Pelfrey, K.A. (Eds.)  Handbook on autism and pervasive developmental disorders, fourth edition, vol.1: Diagnosis, development, and brain mechanisms (pp.278-301).). NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 
This reading (chapter 12) provides information about challenges in imitation. On pages 288-89, the authors propose that the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) plays an important role in “self-other mapping,” that is involved in various social-cognitive skills such as joint attention, symbolic play, and theory of mind.

Etiologies

Theory of Mind

Executive Functioning

Central Coherence

Mirror Neurons