Child psychiatrist Leo Kanner (pronounced “Konner;” Feinstein, 2010, p. 19) published a ground-breaking paper in 1943 that introduced the world to the present-day concept of autism (Fombonne, 2003; Goldstein & Ozonoff, 2009; Roth, 2010). Prior to Kanner, however, several physicians described the condition of autism without identifying it as such. A textbook published in 1809, titled Observations on Madness and Melancholy, contained a description of a boy whose symptoms fit the modern definition of autism (Feinstein, 2010; Vaillant, 1962). The book's author, Dr. John Haslam, wrote about a 5-year-old male who was admitted to the Bethlem Asylum in 1799 with a medical history that included a case of measles when he was 1 year old. The boy's mother claimed that at age 2 years, her son became harder to control. She also indicated that he did not begin to walk until he was 2½ years of age and did not talk until he was 4 years old. Once hospitalized, the boy cried only briefly upon separation from his mother and was “constantly in action” (Vaillant, 1962, p. 376), suggesting that he was hyperactive. Hyperactivity is a characteristic commonly found in children with ASDs (APA, 2000; Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 2009). Although this child watched other boys at play in the hospital, he never joined them and played intently with toy soldiers by himself. The boy could not learn to read and always referred to himself in the third person (Vaillant, 1962). Grammatical errors in speech can be observed among individuals with ASDs (Roth, 2010; Wicks-Nelson & Israel, 2009).
Deisinger, J.A. (2011), "Chapter 10 History of autism spectrum disorders", Rotatori, A.F., Obiakor, F.E. and Bakken, J.P. (Ed.) History of Special Education (Advances in Special Education, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 237-267. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0270-4013(2011)0000021013Download as .RIS
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