Note what motivated Klin to devote his professional life to the study of autism. Notice that while his first introduction to the disorder was with an adult population, he quickly began to focus his research on younger persons. He makes the case for autism not being an emotional disorder, but rather it is a dysfunction of brain behavior. Is there a reason for optimism, based upon his research insight?

Why you should listen:

After studying psychology, political science and history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Klin received his PhD in Psychology at the University of London in 1988. He completed clinical and research post-doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center at the Yale University School of Medicine — where he would direct the Autism Program as Harris Professor of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. He has written in over 180 publications, including five books on the subject of Autism.

Who is he:

Born in Brazil to Holocaust survivors, Ami Klin is the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Professor and Chief of the Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Emory University School of Medicine, and Director of the Marcus Autism Center, a subsidiary of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.


  1. Research the history of autism and explain why it is called a spectrum disorder.
  1. How does autism affect the life of an adult with the disorder?
  1. Why did Klin focus on the isolation of persons with autism? How does this compare with the usual development of behavior?
  1. What are babies learning about their social environment early in life?
  1. How does autism create itself?
  1. Visit a treatment center that focuses on early intervention with children with autism. Write a report on your findings and share it with another person.

Relating to the real world: ABC Nightly News: Breakthrough for Autism

A new way to diagnose autism with Ami Klin


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