Abstract: the article presents an overview of the main historical and modern hypotheses of the origin and development of autism (autism spectrum disorders, ASD), with special attention paid to neuropsychological aspects. The need to understand the causes and factors of autism spectrum disorders is urgent due to the increasing prevalence of autistic disorders among children and the need for specialized care. For the research, we considered articles published in the period from 1943 to 2020 in Russian and English. As a result of the search, 34 scientific papers and 1 electronic source were selected, containing information about the main historical and modern research on the mechanisms of autism. Currently, the scientific community puts forward a large number of hypotheses about the causes of autism, but there is no single point of view, thanks to which it would be possible to predict the risk of autism for psychorehabilitation activities. To achieve this goal, the following hypotheses were analyzed and presented: etiopathogenetic, both historical and modern genetic, immunological, opioid, dysneuro-ontogenetic and neurochemical hypotheses of the occurrence of autism. The article also discusses current views on the genetics of autism, the study of which suggests that many researchers in their work turn to the discussion of the role of genetic mutations and chromosomal disorders in the formation of ASD. At the end of the research, it was concluded that data on the neuropsychological aspects of autism can serve as a basis for the development of new methods for differentiated diagnosis of autism from similar conditions, as well as for expanding the possibilities of psychological assistance to children with autism.
Keywords: autism, autism spectrum disorders, history of autism research, causes of autism, hypotheses, current research, abnormal development