History Of Autism

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  • July 2, 2011
  • by AutismUnited
  • About Autism, autism awareness, History Of Autism, Spectrum Disorder,
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While autism had been identified and the diagnosis initiated quite some time ago, it was not recognized in a formal capacity as its own condition due to the fact that many confused it with conditions such as schizophrenia.  Along with this, for years on end many people thought autism was the result of a single cause.  Today we are more informed about the condition known as autism, and well aware that it has more than just a single cause.  Not only are we aware of this, it has also come to the attention of the medical profession, as well as society, that there is nothing simple or basic about the condition of autism.

In the year 1912, a Swiss psychiatrist named Eugene Bleuler was the very first to identify a particular pattern in schizophrenia afflicted individuals who seemed to be “self-absorbed.”  It was at this point when Dr. Bleuler labeled this particular form of self-absorbed behavior as autism, and became the first to coin the term.  While this is true, he was not the first to identify and recognize autism as being a completely different and separate entity from schizophrenia as well as other mental illnesses.

It was not until the year 1943 when autism became its own specific condition.  An Australian-American psychologist for children, Leo Kanner, was the very first to recognize the condition of autism as its own individual mental disorder.  Kanner was able to identify and label similar characteristics and conditions in a group of approximately 11 children.  These children exhibited symptoms such as sensitivity to stimulants such as sound or food, having trouble with spontaneous tasks or events, and a noticeable lack of average intellect.  Once he had properly observed these children he had diagnosed them with having early infantile autism.

An Austrian scientist and pediatrician Hans Asperger also described, in detail, his trials and tribulations with a group of autistic children in 1944.  A great portion of the signs and symptoms Kanner’s children where exhibiting also happened in Asperger’s group as well.  Asperger made great note of their clumsy motor skills as well as the difference in speech.  While Kanner’s group seemed to lack necessary conversational and language skills, Asperger’s group spoke like little adults.  Today children who have high functioning autism are generally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

From the 1970’s and pushing forward, autism research and studies began to pick up pace rapidly.  Both education and therapy for autistic children are still in development today, as research has found that autism is far more complex than any scientist had originally thought.  This complexity then led researchers to the conclusion that there are various causes for autism, as the condition is highly complex in the first place.

Today, with the implementation of modern technologies and therapies, autistic patients are able to lead the most normal lives possible.  With the use of either rigorous or leisurely therapy depending on the severity of the condition, some autistic patients are able to function completely normal in a wide variety of settings.

 

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