Childhood autism is the most overwhelming psychiatric disturbance of childhood. Announcing its presence during the first year or two of life, its natural history is often a profound, life-long developmental disability affecting every sphere of social, emotional, and intellectual functioning. Kanner's1 classic description of children who have difficulty in relating to people and things from the beginning of life has been followed by an abundance of studies expanding our knowledge of the clinical features of autism. Children with autism have been found to present a variety of disturbances in language, perception, neurophysiological organization, and emotional and behavioral control.2-5 Unfortunately, epidemiologic, genetic, and metabolic investigations are limited, as they are for all serious psychiatric disturbances in childhood.

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