As a group, babies later diagnosed as autistic are found to have more complications during gestation and delivery than their normal siblings and others. In addition to all these complications, infants later diagnosed on the autistic spectrum have a two-fold rate of residence in neonatal intensive care units. Over the past 50 years, ever younger previously non-viable very low weight babies are being kept alive, some born as much as four months before term. However, it is becoming apparent that miraculous procedures to counteract organ immaturity and prolonged incubation contribute to a new gamut of hitherto unknown forms of neurological damage. With pregnancy curtailed, prematurely separated mothers and their babies both experience a prolonged state of limbo, with the fragile infant being exposed to excruciating medical interventions and overwhelming stimulation. International researchers and clinicians renowned for their work in the field of early autism come together to resolve queries around the long debate on the development and resolution of autism.
Stella Acquarone, PhD, is the Director of the Parent-Infant Clinic of the School of Infant Mental Health in London and its branch in the USA. She is a practising adult and child psychotherapist and has worked in the NHS for thirty-one years. She is a member of the British Psychological Society, the Association of Child Psychotherapists, and the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has pioneered studies in early infant clinical research and development, and lectures internationally on all aspects of infant-parent development and psychotherapy. She has written extensively in professional papers, journals and chapters in books, and has taught infant observational studies and new clinical strategies in working with disturbed children.
ContentsIntroduction: expectations and experiences of parents with a pre-autistic baby by Joan Raphael-LeffPART I History of early signs and interventions Chapter 1 The prodromal phase of autism and outcome of early treatment by Henry MassiePART II Research on early signs Chapter 2 Signs of autism in infancy: sensitivity for rhythms of expression in communication by Colwyn Trevarthen, C. St. Clair and Laurent Danon-BoileauChapter 3 Early signs of autism in the first year of life by Filippo Muratori and Sandra MaestroChapter 4 Early signs related to posture and communication-the child's attitude and the mother's reaction by Laurent Danon-BoileauChapter 5 The PREAUT research: evaluation of a consistent set of tools identifying early communication perturbations which could lead to a developmental disorder of the autistic spectrum by Graciela Cullere-CrespinPART III Approaches of early intervention Chapter 6 From a distance - early intervention as a way to attune and find a channel for communication by Stella AcquaroneChapter 7 Infants at risk - attachment disorders: Diagnosis and treatment by Hanna AlonimChapter 8 Prosody with babies at risk for autism: treatment and research by Marie-Christine LaznikChapter 9 Changing Destinies: The theory and practice of reaching emotionally withdrawn infants by Stella AcquaroneChapter 10 Helping toddlers to communicate: infant observation as an early intervention by Maria RhodePART IV Theoretical contributions Chapter 11 Me, You and the Others: on being born emotionally by Stella AcquaroneChapter 12 Developmental and autistic aspects of vocalisation by Maria RhodeSummary and conclusions: the case for training, early screening, early treatment and further research