UCL News


The hidden face of autism

20 June 2006

A new DVD produced by academics from the UCL Institute of Child Heath (UCL ICH) looks at cases where autism could be difficult to diagnose in children.


Devised by Professor David Skuse and Miss Rebecca Chilvers (UCL ICH), the video is divided into several parts, including a short introduction by Professor Skuse, an expert in behavioural and brain sciences, who specialises in assessing and treating children with autistic spectrum disorders and normal or high ability, and Miss Chilvers, a PhD student in Professor Skuse's research unit.

A number of interviews with children with autism make up the bulk of the video, each looking at the symptomology of autism, including reciprocal communication, language use, repetitive behaviours and the way in which the children play. The children shown in interview with Miss Chilvers have varying IQs, ranging from low average to high, and the ages range from toddler to late teens.

The DVD also includes additional material such as an interview with Mark Haddon, author of the bestseller 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' whose narrator, Christopher, suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, which is one of the autistic spectrum disorders.

Professor Skuse said: "The DVD seeks to educate people about these high functioning kids and how difficult they are to diagnose. It is interactive, so that users can choose elements to watch, and learn from the interaction with those elements -for example, symptoms used to diagnose autism, parent comments and teacher comments."

Image: Cover image from 'The Hidden Face of Autism' DVD