Autism and congenital blindness

J Autism Dev Disord. 1999 Feb;29(1):45-56. doi: 10.1023/a:1025918616111.


The nature of autism in congenitally blind children has long been a source of interest and perplexity. A group of nine congenitally blind children with an autism-like syndrome were closely matched on chronological age and verbal mental age with nine sighted autistic children, and were compared on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (Schopler, Reichler, & Renner, 1986) and the Behavior Checklist for Disordered Preschoolers, together with the Play Items for Disordered Preschoolers (Sherman, Shapiro, & Glassman, 1983). A checklist of clinical features characteristic of autism (derived from DSM-III-R) was also completed through an interview with teachers. There was substantial similarity between the groups, but also suggestive evidence of possible group differences, specifically in the domain of social-emotional responsiveness. Research on the psychological development of congenitally blind children promises to yield insights into the nature of autism itself.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Autistic Disorder / complications
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Blindness / complications
  • Blindness / congenital
  • Blindness / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Play and Playthings / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Socialization
  • Wechsler Scales