Evolution in concepts of autism over the years
This thread is open to opinion and alternative notions.
I feel the (simplistically linear progression) of notions of autism is:
I. Eugen Bleuler, 1911: “Autism” as a description of the thinking patterns of people with “dementia praecox” (aka Schizophrenia)
Various theorists of the 1920s, obscure until recently.
1940s: Present general definition of autism developed.
a. Leo Kanner’s work. “Infantile autism.” Virtually the sole notion of autism until the 1980s
b. Hans Asperger and “autistic psychopathy.” Obscure until early 1980s.
1950s: “Refrigerator Mother” theory
1960s-1970s: “Refrigerator Mother” theory debunked. Notions of “minimal brain dysfunction” for many people who would be diagnosed with Aspergers under the DSM-IV. No notion of “high-functioning” autism. Kanner still primary theorist. Applied Behavioral Analysis comes to the fore.
1980s: Hans Asperger “rediscovered.” Beginnings of notion of the possible existence of “high-functioning” autism.
1994: Introduction of the “Spectrum” notion underlying autism. DSM-IV introduced.
1998: Vaccine causation of autism debunked.
2000s to present: understanding of autism greatly enhanced. Notions of “female presentation” developing. Beginnings of “autism rights” movement and neurodiversity movement. Cognitive Neuroscience on the rise. Introduction of accommodations specifically for autism. Applied Behavioral Analysis not the sole “treatment” for autism any longer.