A History of Autism

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Autism Research and Publications

Bleuler

1911

Eugen Bleuler first used the term autism in relation to schizophrenia. ‘Autism’ and ‘autistic’ come from the Greek ‘auto’ or self.

Leo Kanner

1943

Leo Kanner used the term infantile autism to describe unusual characteristics seen in a study of 11 children. He also suggested a possible genetic component to these bahaviours.

Hans Asperger

1944

Asperger studied 4 boys who showed similar unusual characteristics.

Kanner: Lack of stimulation

1949

Kanner observed that children with autism experienced a lack of stimulation in their environment. He referred to refrigerator mothers undemonstrative fathers.

Bernard Rimland

1964

Bernard Rimland proposed the existence of a biological link involved with autism.

Bettleheim

1967

Bettleheim popularised the theory of autism being a result of an unstimulating environment and the term ‘refrigerator mothers’ became widely used.

Validation

1967

The syndrome and features of autism were validated.

Schizophrenia and autism

1971

Early childhood autism was recognised as being separate from schizophrenia.

Neurology

1971

A link was made between early childhood autism and neurological disease in children with congenital rubella.

Twin Studies

1977

Folstein and Rutter conducted studies on twins to explore the genetic component of autism.

'Journal of Autism and Development Disorders'

1979

The ‘Journal of Autism and Development Disorders’ was founded

Triad of Impairments

1979

Lorna Wing identified the Triad of Impairments representing the core characteristics of autism.

E. R. Ritvo

1981

Dr E. R. Ritvo presented research to suggest that autism may be inherited.

Theory of Mind

1985

Uta Frith proposed that children with autism lack a Theory of MInd.

'Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disorders"

1985

The journal of ’Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disorders" was founded.

International Autism Research Review

1987

International Autism Research Review founded

Candida Infection

1988

Rimland suggests link between candida infection and autism.

Impaired Executive Function

1991

Sally Ozonoff suggested that executive functioning or problem solving requires planning, impulse control and working memory and that executive functioning related to the frontal lobes may be impaired in individuals with autism.

Autistic Spectrum

1991

Lorna Wing recognises Asperger syndrome as a form of autism and introduced the term autistic spectrum.

Weak Central Coherence

1994

Frith and Happe proposed that individuals with autism have difficulty in making meaning from the whole rather than individual parts.

Mind Blindness

1995

Baron-Cohen publishes his book ‘Mind Blindness’.

'Focus on autistic behaviour'

1995

The journal ‘Focus on autistic behaviour’ was founded.

Thinking in Pictures

1996

Temple Grandin published ‘Thinking in pictures and other reports from my life with autism’

'Focus on autism and other developmental disorders'

1996

The journal ‘Focus on autism and other developmental disorders’ was founded

MMR Vaccine

1998

Andrew Wakefiled proposed a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism.

In utero risk

2000

Rodier looked at the link between in utero risk factors such as rubella and alcohol and autism.

Empathising-Systemising Theory

2003

Baron-Cohen suggest that autism is an example of the extreme male brain showing strengths in systemising often leading to obsessions but also displaying a lack of empathy.

Rapid Brain Growth

2003

Courchesne proposed a link between autism and rapid brain growth in infancy.

Environmental Influences

2007

‘Autism’ and Environment’ workshop in USA to explore the effects of the environment on the developing brain.

Vaccines not a risk

2013

Destafano found no link between autism and the number of vaccines a child receives in a day.

Autism Communities of Practice

Autism Society of America

1965

The parent advocate group, Autism Society of America was formed.

IHC sub committee for autism

1969

A group of parents were formed into a sub-committee within the IHC in New Zealand to focus on autism. This group later became Autism NZ Inc.

TEAACH

1971

Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-Handicapped children was founded in the US by Eric Schopier. It increased the services on offer to autistic children and included parents in their therapy.

Autism NZ Inc

1995

Official launch of Autism NZ Inc.

Autism Awareness Year

2002

2002 was declared Autism Awareness Year in the UK.

Autism Speaks

2005

Autism Speaks was founded

NZASD Guideline

2008

New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline was published by the Ministry of Health.

IDEA

2012

IDEA ( Intellectual disability empowerment in action) launched ASD Plus to provide communication and behaviour services to support individuals with ASD and their families.

Autism Prevelance

4.5 in 10,000

1966

Lotter’s epidemiological study suggested a rate of 4.5 in every 10,000 individuals were autistic.

15 in 10,000

1996

As doctors began to recognise autism the number of reported cases in USA rose to 15 in 10,000.

1 in 150

2007

CDC (Centers for disease control and prevention) in USA reported 1 in 150 individuals were on the autistic spectrum.

1 in 110

2009

CDC in USA reported autism being present at a rate of 1 in 110.

1 in 88

2012

CDC reported 1 in 88 children being on the autistic spectrum.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Screening Tools

1911

Introduction of ASQ ( Autism Screening Questionnaire) and M-CHAT ( Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers).

DSM-I

1952

Autism related behaviours categorised under schizophrenia in DSM-I

Childhood autism rating scale

1966

The Childhood autism rating scale was introduced by Schopler and others to assist in the identification of autism.

DSM-II

1968

Autism related bahaviours remain classified under childhood schizophrenia.

Behavioural Approach

1973

Behavioural approaches were seen as the most effective way to teach children with autism.

DSM III

1980

Infantile Autism was recognised as a pervasive developmental disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III (DSM III). 6 symptoms were listed.

drug therapy

1984

Drugs started to be used in the treatment of autism.

DSM III update

1987

The term “infantile autism” was replaced by ‘autistic disorders’ and 16 new diagnostic criteria added.

Applied Behaviour Analysis

1987

Ole Ivar Lovaas introduced the use of Applied Behaviour Analysis.

DSM IV

1994

DSM IV altered the category of pervasive developmental disorders to include Asperger Syndrome and significantly increased the range of diagnostic criteria for autism.