In a different key: The story of autism

In a different key: the story of autism

– a 1943 US article about the story of autism for Donald (he is alive today & is now 82) & is consider “Case Number 1”
– initially There were struggles with how to define autism
– definitional issues have persisted
– First study done on the prevalence rate for autism – First published in June 1966 (victor Lauder, South African)
– he had definitional issues of overlapping conditions with similar traits (schizophrenia – various types)
– he made up his own list based on psychiatrist recommendations (7 items on his list)
– he found 35 children out of 78,000 children (1 in 2,500 rate) – this figure is still quoted today for what the ASD rate used to be
– to this day, DSM definition continues to change, as do the prevalence rates
– this makes research difficult
– makes it difficult to determine if there is an ASD epidemic today
– there are no bio-makers
– treatments vary also
– assessment is very subjective
– in the 1940s & 1950s, psychoanalysis argued that ASD resulted from mothers failing to love their children & treatment in the 1960s involved
1 – Institutionalising the child and forgetting about the child
2 – Mother going into intensive psycho analysis about why the mother rejected the child

– 1960s: genetics was raised as a possible cause of ASD, but was rejected by psychiatrists & psychologists because there was a perceived linked with Nazi eugenics
– 1970s: genetics was once more raised as a possible cause of ASD
– The breakthrough thinking occurred in the United Kingdom [Sir Michael Rudder, a psychiatrist in South London]
– he studied twins who had a parent with autism
– he tracked down all such twins in UK (excluding Northern Ireland) – in 1974& 1975
– they found ASD had a genetic component on the basis of both identical twins having ASD compared with no complete set of fraternal twins had ASD (only one of tHe twins)
– this was published in Nature in 1977
– ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) psychological treatments were used since the 1970s compared with “punishment treatments”

– parents led change, including scientific research
– up to 1970s, students with ASD were not included in mainstream schools

– Hans Asperger – Paediatrician – Working in Vienna during the Nazi period – wrote articles in 1938 &’1944 – he used the word autism to describe children who were socially challenged, but who, in most cases were highly intelligent, highly-verbal
– myth has arisen over the years that Asperger was a “secret hero”, who hid these children from the Nazis who were inclined to murder children who were disabled
– However there has been a controversial discovery about Asperger, namely that he, in 1941, signed a piece of paper that sent a 2 year old to a Nazi death camp for the disabled (she was murdered 2 months after her arrival when she was 3 year olds)
– he was not a member of the Nazi Party

– Donald learned to live a life independently, including driving at the age of 27. He was also protected by his small Mississippi community.

Source: National Institute of Health Podcasts | Podcast date: 14 May 2016

#marktaylor #marktaylorpsychology #canberrapsychologist #psychologistcanberra


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