Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica
On-line version ISSN 1678-7153
LAMPREIA, Carolina. A prelimary analysis of cognitive and developmental approaches in autism. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2004, vol.17, n.1, pp. 111-120. ISSN 1678-7153. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-79722004000100014.
The diversity of clinical pictures and different theoretical approaches may explain the blurred boundaries of the concept of autism. Since Kanner, autism has been explained either as a social/affective deficit or a cognitive one. In the fruitless debate of the 1970/80s, some authors argued that the primary deficit was social/affective while others that it was in the cognitive area of language. Today the cognitive and developmental approaches predominate. The latter revives the social/affective approach to autism and dissolves the social x language opposition. One of its epistemological assumptions is to view language as a social activity because its precursors can be found in the mother-infant nonverbal communications. The purpose of this article is to begin a discussion about the importance of the epistemological assumptions of the different theoretical approaches to autism for the search of its etiology and intervention.
Keywords : Autism; cognitivism; developmentalism.