For most of the 20th century autism has been considered to be a rare condition. In 1990’s cases of autism started to increase dramatically. What is the reason of this sudden epidemic of autism? In this Ted talks video Steve Silberman is trying to uncover the answers to many questions about autism. For most of 20th century clinicians told one kind of story about what autism was. The second, more accurate story, was lost and forgotten in the clinical literature.
The first story starts with the child psychiatrist Leo Kanner, who had narrow selection criteria for diagnosis of autism and considered autism to be a rare condition. He classified autism as an infantile psychosis, caused by unaffectionate parients. Kanner noticed, that these children had special abilities within certain areas like music, math and memory. As a result of Kanner’s classification autism became shame and stigma for families, who’s children were placed to special institutions for their own good, becoming invisible to the world.
In 1970’s researchers began to test Kanner’s theory that autism was rare. Another paper, published by Hans Asperger in 1944, offered an alternate story of autism, which was forgotten and burried for many years. In stead of blaming parients for causing autism, Asperger framed autism as a lifelong, polygenetic disability, demanding support and accomodations through the whole life. Asperger viewed autism as a diverse continuum that spans a range of giftedness and disability.
In early 1990’s Kanner’s narrow model of autism has been swept out by Asperger. As a result first easy to use diagnostic tests were introduced. A whole new awareness of autism has been created enabling autistic people and their families to get needed support and services and celebrate the varieties of human cognition. Asperger believed that the” cure” for the most disabling aspects of autism is to be found in understanding teachers, accomodating employers and parients who have faith in their children’s potential.
At We.Care we offer help to overcome the mental challenges caused by autism. By signing up to this program you will gain access to information on how to deal with autism. Furthermore you will be able to talk to our psychologists who will be able to offer specialised help to exactly the challenges you are dealing with.