Donated funds futher research as well as child care.

Montreal Autism Centre



Infant-Toddler Information Processing Assessment for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Autism: Part I

Philip R. Zelazo

Infants & Young Children. 10(1):1-14, July 1997.

Conventional tests of infant-toddler development confound the measures used to infer mental ability with the child's disability. A new approach involving assessment of central information processing ability is described as a complement to conventional tests that permits the identification of intact mental ability in the face of pervasive developmental delays and autism. Intact processing ability along with a profile of expressive development not only allows for a differential diagnosis but permits more accurate assessment of mental ability and more appropriate intervention strategies.
© 1997 Aspen Publishers, Inc.


Infant-Toddler Information Processing Treatment of Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Autism: Part II

Philip R. Zelazo
Infants & Young Children. 10(2):1-13, October 1997.

An information processing assessment of mental ability coupled with a conventional test of development can identify normal intelligence in children with pervasive developmental disorder and autism. A variety of measures indicate that a treatment program designed to foster compliant behavior, first with actions and then with words, can result in substantial "catch-up" in the majority of children with intact information processing ability.
© 1997 Aspen Publishers, Inc.


The development of autism: perspectives from theory
and research

Jacob A. Burack, Tony Charman, Nurit Yirmiya, Philip R. Zelazo

Chapter 3. A Developmental Perspective on Early Autism: Affective, Behavioral, and Cognitive Factors

Philip R. Zelazo

Dedicated to the memory and work of Lisa Capps, this volume is a forum for scholars and practitioners interested in the typical and atypical development of persons with autism. Each chapter is focused on theoretical considerations and the empirical evidence regarding a specific aspect of functioning, but common themes of development are considered throughout. Within this framework, the contributors provide a detailed and comprehensive account of the development of persons with autism.

The book is divided into four sections: (1) Developmental, Neurobiological, Genetic, and Family Considerations; (2) Attention and Perception; (3) Cognition, Theory of Mind, and Executive Functioning; and (4) Social and Adaptive Behaviors. With the consideration of this broad range of topics, this volume is both a state-of-the-art resource about autism and a unique contribution to the study of development. It will be of interest to researchers and care providers from several domains, including psychology, psychiatry, social work, developmental psychology, and education. This volume can be used as a text in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses, and as a resource in applied settings.
(C) 2001 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates


Mental representations for visual sequences: Increased speed of central processing from 22 to 32 months

Philip R. Zelazo, Richard B. Kearsley, & Dale M. Stack

Measures of infant attention, particularly speed of processing, correlate with later intelligence, implying that they are tapping central processing ability. Yet, little is known about changes in speed of processing beyond the first year of life and before the child reaches school age. To assess changes in processing speed in the second to third year of life, two sequential visual events were shown to 22-, 27- and 32-months-old children. Twelve children were examined at each age using a Standard-Transformation-Return paradigm designed to address a number of limitations of attentional measures. Two coders scored attentional and effective behavioral responses while beat-by-beat heart rate was measured. Response clusters, rather than single responses, and first recognition reactions, rather than measures of habituation, were examined. Response cluster, implying mental representations ( a central processing phenomenon), occured following fewer trials of exposure for older children, indicating that speed of processing increases with age. Longer latencies to first clusters during the transformation relative to the standard phase imply proactive inhibition that also declines with age.
© 1995 Elsevier Science Inc.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Need for Self-Examination

Zelazo, Philip Roman

Reviews the book Autism Spectrum Disorders: Identification, Education, and Treatment (3rd ed.), edited by Dianne Zager (see record 2004-18482-000). This book tells its story largely from the perspective of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and special education. Zager's edited volume is essentially a handbook, and it accurately portrays the best in identification, education, and treatment available today, but with too little critical evaluation. Professionals in the fields of special education and ABA are the book's principal audiences, but the field of autism spectrum disorders is broader and there are problems that are not addressed adequately in this book. Education is not involved in identification; for example, although special educators are the primary therapists, they are not ideally prepared for this role. The problems in this book mirror the problems in the field, and a discussion of one cannot occur without the other. Given this caveat, Zager's editing is sensible and uniform and, overall, reflects good judgment. The contributions to the volume are relatively consistent, consciously research driven, and very good. In general, this volume is an excellent resource and, one could argue, the best of its kind in the field today, but it is too uncritical of contemporary practice and of ABA in particular.
© 2005 PsycCRITIQUES


Invented Knowledge and Autism: Highlighting Our Strengths and Expanding the Conversation

Anne M. Donnellan
Invited Commentary. JASH 1999, Vol. 24, No. 3, 230-236
© 1999 The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps

Infancy: Its place in human development

Jerome Kagan, Richard B. Kearsley, & Philip R. Zelazo

Here is a major new work on human infancy written by one of the country's leading developmental psychologists and two distinguished colleagues. At its core is the long-awaited report of the authors' six-year study of infant daycare. Important in its own right, this experiment becomes the occasion for a wide-ranging discussion of cognitive and emotional processes in infancy, of the effects of early experience on later growth, and of the deep-seated cultural and historical assumptions that underlie our views of human development.

For those concerned with social policy, the book provides the best empirical assessment now available of the effects of group care on the psychological well-being of infants. It also supplies a blueprint for quality daycare that may well stand as a model for future nurseries.

For those interested in the course of cognitive and emotional development, the book provides rich information about the major growth functions that characterize human infancy. It also outlines an explanation of these growth functions that links changes in emotional behavior to the maturation of underlying cognitive processes in a new and provocative way.

And for everyone interested in human nature, the book of offers a controversial thesis about the discontinuity of psychological growth that challenges some of our most fundamental assumptions about the nature of individual development.
© 1980 Harvard University Press.

Surprise, Uncertainty, and Mental Structures

Jerome Kagan

When we are startled by the new, confronted with discrepancies, our knowing gives way to uncertainty--and changes. In the distinctive manner that has made him one of the most influential forces in developmental psychology, Jerome Kagan challenges scientific commonplaces about mental processes, pointing in particular to the significant but undervalued role of surprise and uncertainty in shaping behavior, emotion, and thought.

Drawing on research in both animal and human subjects, Kagan presents a strong case for making qualitative distinctions among four different types of mental representation--perceptual schemata, visceral schemata, sensorimotor structures, and semantic networks--and describes how each is susceptible to the experience of discrepancy and the feeling of surprise or uncertainty. The implications of these findings are far-reaching, challenging current ideas about the cognitive understandings of infants and revealing the bankruptcy of contemporary questionnaire-based personality theory. More broadly, Kagan's daring, thoroughly informed, and keenly reasoned book demonstrates the risks of making generalizations about human behavior, in which culture, context, and past experience play such paramount and unpredictable roles.
© 2004 Harvard University Press.