This entry was posted on Thursday, July 24th, 2008 at 11:54 am and is filed under Aspergers, Autism Awareness, Autism Education, Autism Information. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Autism information begins with the first published academic paper identifying autistic children. The paper was published in 1943 by Leo Kanner and was titled “Autistic Disturbance of Affective Contact”. Before Kanner’s observations were recorded, such children were being classified as emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded. Kanner’s work pointed out that these children often demonstrated potential that did not allow them to fit comfortably into either prior diagnosis. His response was to invent a new diagnostic category called Early Infantile Autism, sometimes called Kanner’s Syndrome. Hans Asperger essentially made the same discoveries at the same time independently of Kanner in his academic paper “Autistic Psychopathy in Childhood”. The difference in the subjects being studied by these two pioneers was that Asperger’s subjects had speech, so Asperger’s Syndrome is often still used today to classify autistic people who have speech.
The word “autism” already had a meaning before Kanner coined it as a diagnosis: “escape from reality”. It is speculated that Kanner appropriated this word because he believed that the classified children were either actually trying to escape from reality or gave that impression. Other terms have applied to what we now call autism: childhood schizophrenia, infantile autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Kanner’s Syndrome, and other autism spectrum disorders have also been identified, such as Sensory Integration Disorder.
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