@misc{cogprints3188, title = {Autism and the Motor Theory of Language}, author = {Robin Allott}, publisher = {Book Guild}, year = {2001}, pages = {93--113}, journal = {The Great Mosaic Eye: Language and Evolution}, keywords = {autism, language, motor theory, gesture}, url = {http://cogprints.org/3188/}, abstract = {Autism is a puzzling and distressing state which affects a considerable number of children world-wide. Autistic children display a range of deficiencies and often present bizarre patterns of behaviour. There is no consensus about the causes or treatment of autism. There may be a genetic element and autism may be a manifestation of errors in the programming of neural development pre- and post-natally. One of the central and most discussed aspects of autism is deficiencies in speech development; absence or distortion of the use of words and of syntax make communication difficult for autistic children. Coupled with their notable lack of social empathy, this intensifies the isolation from which the children suffer. No clearly successful treatment for their language or other difficulties has as yet emerged. Given this, it seems desirable to examine whether the different ideas about the origin and functioning of language offered by the motor theory may be relevant in understanding the nature of autism or suggesting ways in which these unfortunate children might be helped, in tackling their language deficiencies or more widely. } }