Evolution in concepts of autism over the years

kraftiekortiekraftiekortie Citizen
edited November 2020 in General ASD

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)

  1. Various theorists of the 1920s, obscure until recently.

  2. 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.

  1. 1950s: “Refrigerator Mother” theory

  2. 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.

  3. 1980s: Hans Asperger “rediscovered.” Beginnings of notion of the possible existence of “high-functioning” autism.

  4. 1994: Introduction of the “Spectrum” notion underlying autism. DSM-IV introduced.

  5. 1998: Vaccine causation of autism debunked.

  6. 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.

Comments

  • Very good. Those of us 30 and over can appreciate this especially.

    I mentioned in the adult diagnosis thread how I just wasn't a prime candidate for autism in the time I grew up: I was a female child with a big vocabulary growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, so despite my older sister noticing some things (like lack of eye contact) that just weren't typical, it wasn't enough for the public and most others to be aware of in the first place. I didn't learn of Asperger Syndrome until the 2000s. I could hide in the background and be a nerd in school. Quirks and lack of sociability could be ascribed to creativity, being "unique" (the "special snowflake" idea many of us older Millennials grew up with), shyness, or introversion. Only in adulthood -- when friendships, numerous failed social relationships, job problems, anger and frustration management (read: meltdowns over lack of success and change), etc. came up repeatedly -- did I finally start to put together more of the pieces. Through a lot of negative feedback -- especially from others outside my biased and loving parents -- I became more self-aware, did more research, and finally got my diagnosis just a couple of months before my 30th birthday.

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    Good synopsis,couldn't really add to it other than John Langdon Down coined term "idiot savant" in 1958,if name sounds familiar,yes he also coined" Downs syndrome"

  • Can’t forget the influence of Tony Attwood within an Aspergers context.

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    And the revolutionary autobiography " Nobody Nowhere" along with sequels by Donna Williams

  • Indeed...

  • Good synopsis, Kort.

    My synopsis:
    I learned about Kanner's in college
    I've been working with autists for 20 years
    Didn't figure out, as an elderly woman, that I was aspie until just before my 64th birthday.
    ☺

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    @blazingstar said:
    Good synopsis, Kort.

    My synopsis:
    I learned about Kanner's in college
    I've been working with autists for 20 years
    Didn't figure out, as an elderly woman, that I was aspie until just before my 64th birthday.
    ☺

    I can relate to this Blaze, similar experience.
    The difference between the textbook description and what you learn from a group of Autistic people about Autism is like day and night.

Sign In or Register to comment.