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Keywords:

  • autism;
  • long-term prognosis;
  • regression;
  • setback phenomenon;
  • speech loss

From among the subjects of a follow-up study on cases of autism conducted by the authors in 1990, 179 cases for which precise records were available on the infancy period were selected for evaluation of the relationship between the occurrence of setback phenomenon in infancy and long-term prognosis. The following results were obtained: (i) a significantly higher rate of epilepsy among the setback group compared to the non-setback group; and (ii) a significantly lower level of language development among the setback group upon entering elementary school compared to the non-setback group, although the difference between the present levels of adaptation of the two groups was not significant. Factors determining the long-term prognosis of the setback group are discussed.