everything I could possibly find on Autism. One story I read
has always haunted me a little.
It was the story about the first account of a young autistic boy.
A Frenchman by the name of Itard writes about a young boy
around the age of 12 who had been living in a Forest until he
was captured in January 1800. Itard named the boy Victor
who seemed to be very self-absorbed and could not verbally
It wasn't until over a century later that the word Autism was
first used by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler in 1911 to
describe individuals who withdrew from social interaction with
others. Bleuler derived the word Autism from the Greek word
"Autos," which means "self."
Then not again until 1943, when Autism came to the forefront.
That is when a psychiatrist by the name of Leo Kanner observed
the behaviour of 11 children at the John Hopkins Hospital in
Kanner at this time invented a new category, which he called
"Early Infantile Autism", which sometimes is referred as Kanner
At about the same time as Kanner was doing his study at John
Hopkins Hospital. There was a Doctor in Vienna, Austria by the
name of Dr. Hans Asperger who published a paper in 1944 who
described a disorder very much like Kanner's "early infantile autism."
This condition was later termed Asperger Syndrome.
Because of World War II Dr. Asperger's work was not available to
the public and it was not until 1997 that his findings were given
The 1950s and 1960s were a very dark period for parents and
(especially mothers) of children with Autism. At that time the
popular thought was that Autism was caused due to the coldness
of their mothers. This was the time that the term "refrigerator mother"
Thankfully, in the early part of the 1960s, members of the medical
community like Dr. Bernard Rimland and Dr. Eric Schopler were
doing their own research. During this time Dr. Rimland presented
his own study showing evidence that Autism was a biological condition
rather than a psychological one.
By the 1990s, researchers were focusing on the genetic component of
Autism, focusing specifically on chromosome 15. These studies have
revealed a connection between Autism and people with irregularities
on chromosome 15.
Now and in the future there will be more and more studies focusing
on the genetic component of Autism. Right now in the beginning of
2007, there are many advancements in Autism and I predict we will
be seeing quite abit of progress in the next 10 years.
The History of Autism has been both complex and controversial.
Many people think that Autism is a modern disorder but as you
have read it has dated back to the early 1800s. In some ways it
seems that there has not been very much progress in those 200 years
but I feel that we are on the verge of a breakthrough with Autism.