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November 2021

Autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting communication and learning in early childhood: prenatal origins, post-natal course and effective educational support [In Process Citation]

Journal/Book: Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2000; 63: 41-6.

Abstract: Colwyn Trevarthen, working on autism, discussed the importance of time, rhythm and temporal processing in brain function. The brains of new born infants show highly coherent and coordinated patterns of activity over time, and their rhythms are remarkably similar to those of adults. Since the cortex has not yet developed, this coordination must be subcortical in origin. The likely source is the emotional motor system. He noted that the cerebellum might regulate the intricate timing of the development and expression of emotional communication. He also pointed out that emotional and motivational factors have often been seriously neglected in psychology (largely owing to a misplaced focus on 'cognition' as some isolated entity) and emphasized the potential importance of empathetic support and music therapy in helping autistic children.

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