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Children with Autism

Children with Autism

A Developmental Perspective

Marian Sigman, Lisa Capps

ISBN 9780674053137

Publication date: 05/20/1997

A window on the insular world of autism, this book offers a rare close look at the mysterious condition that afflicts approximately 350,000 Americans and affects millions more. As they make sense of the many features of autism at every level of intellectual functioning across the life span, Marian Sigman and Lisa Capps weave together clinical vignettes, research findings, methodological considerations, and historical accounts. The result is a compelling, comprehensive view of the disorder, as true to human experience as it is to scientific observation.

Children with Autism is unique in that it views autism through the lens of developmental psychopathology, a discipline grounded in the belief that studies of normal and abnormal development can inform and enhance one another. Sigman and Capps conduct readers through the course of development from infancy to adulthood, outlining the differences between normal and autistic individuals at each stage and highlighting the links between growth in cognitive, social, and emotional domains. In particular, Sigman and Capps suggest that deficits in social understanding emerge in the early infancy of autistic children, and they explore how these deficits organize the development of autistic individuals through the course of their lives. They also examine the effects certain characteristics can have on an autistic person's adjustment over time. Their book concludes with an overview of existing interventions and promising avenues for further research.


  • Sigman and Capps have produced an excellent book...the structure of [which] is very clear...By contrasting the development of children with autism with the development of other children, the significance of the core deficits in autism is revealed. Accounts of the relevant theoretical and empirical work are up to date and the use of clinical vignettes really helps to bring the text to life...The authors' wealth of experience of people with autism, together with real empathy for people with social impairments, is apparent throughout...For the undergraduate or person with limited experience of autism, Children with Autism provides a very interesting account of what autism is. However, I would also...urge my colleagues who work as clinical or educational practitioners with children who have developmental disorders to read this book. Those of us who are continually submerged in the histories and observations of children who develop atypically are at risk of losing the wider developmental perspective, which this book provides for us very eloquently.

    —Sarah Lister Brook, The Psychologist [UK]


  • Marian Sigman is Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Lisa Capps was Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Book Details

  • 5-3/8 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press