The key to understanding some of this is that your children are not
alone. At the same time that we have this whole group of children appearing with
Autism/PDD which do not fit the classic profiles, what we also have is a discussion in the
pediatric literature, in the schools and in our learning areas about a new kind of
disorder thats been appearing. What theyre talking about are children that
have weaknesses in higher order cognitive functions, who have school failure or who are
Now theres a very important part to this. When I graduated medical
school, and it was a pretty good medical school, UCLA, we were taught that there was a
paradoxical group of children out there with Attention Deficit Disorder, as we called it
then, who were hyper. If you could get them in their chairs, they were very bright. Nobody
talked about processing problems; nobody talked about higher order cognitive dysfunction.
If you could get that kid in their seat, they were bright. Now what you have are a large
number of children who are being thought of as having cognitive problems. A favorite term
out there right now is Executive Dysfunction. These children are unable to focus their
attention, but theyre not a hyperactive, hyperkinetic child bouncing of the walls.
Theyre often described as passive learners. They just kind of sit there.