The borderland of autism and Rett syndrome: five case histories to highlight diagnostic difficulties

J Autism Dev Disord. 1989 Dec;19(4):545-59. doi: 10.1007/BF02212857.


Four girls and one boy with pervasive developmental disorders are described. They all met DSM-III-R criteria for autistic disorder and all also showed many if not all the symptoms currently considered essential for a diagnosis of Rett syndrome. It is concluded that there is considerable overlap between the two disorders and that the symptomatic similarities might mirror common pathophysiological abnormalities at the brainstem level.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / complications
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rett Syndrome / complications
  • Rett Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Rett Syndrome / physiopathology