Does Socio-emotional Developmental Delay Masquerade as Autism in Some Deaf Children?

Barry Wright, Peter Oakes


It is reported that autism is more common in deaf children. It is also now well established that theory of mind delays are common in deaf children particularly where there is linguistic and communicative poverty in infancy. This paper discusses the literature in these areas and proposes that socio-emotional developmental delay is distinct from autism in deaf children with different presentation, aetiology and prognosis careful assessment should distinguish between autism and socio-emotional developmental delay in deaf children, and lead to appropriate differential interventions.

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