Asperger (1906–1980) and Kanner (1894–1981), the two pioneers of autism

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 12/2007; 37(10):2022-3. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-007-0383-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT More than 60 years ago, two very similar descriptions of children displaying severe social deficits and unusual behaviours were published, one in English, one in German, both using the term ‘autistic’. Leo Kanner (1943) in Baltimore, USA, described 11 children with ‘early infantile autism’ in his seminal paper ‘Autistic disturbances of affective contact’. In the same year, October 1943, Hans Asperger, in Vienna, Austria, submitted his thesis on ‘Autistic psychopathy in childhood’, which was published in 1944, describing four children with ‘autistic psychopathy’. Both authors used the term ‘autistic’ which was coined by Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, who used this label to describe the characteristics of individuals with schizophrenia. However, only Asperger acknowledged the fact that he had adopted Bleuler’s terminology in his doctoral thesis, whereas no references to Bleuler are evident in Kanner’s paper as highlighted by Schirmer (2002).

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Available from: Michael Fitzgerald, Oct 13, 2014
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    • "Asperger's 1938 paper, add that ''Asperger believed that … Kanner was the first to describe 'infantile autism''' (Lyons and Fitzgerald 2007, p. 2022). But was Asperger correct? "
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    ABSTRACT: Letter to the editor in response to Michael Fitzgerald’s controversial allegation that one of the two pioneers of autism—Leo Kanner—may have been influenced by an earlier paper by the other autism pioneer—Hans Asperger—without acknowledging the debt, and that Kanner may even have been guilty of plagiarising Asperger. In correspondence, Professor Fitzgerald has suggested that I “consider doing my take on the matter”. This is it.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 04/2012; 42(10):2263-2265. DOI:10.1007/s10803-012-1529-5 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    • "Although Kanner and Asperger spoke the same language, were from the same city, and described similar cases in the same year using the same terminology (autism), it is often acknowledged that they never met and were not aware of each other's work (e.g., Frith, 2004; Van Krevelen, 1971). Conversely, some have recently claimed that although Asperger was not aware of Kanner's 1943 article, Kanner may have been aware of Asperger's 1938 published lecture (Fitzgerald, 2008; Lyons & Fitzgerald, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although gender disparity in ASD has been long documented, research addressing gender related to core ASD symptomatology (e.g., domains, severity, breadth, etc.) is scant. The present research examined gender differences in ASD symptomatology in three populations: infants and toddlers at risk for developmental disability, children and adolescents, and adults with intellectual disability (ID). No significant gender differences in ASD symptoms were found in the infant/toddler or child/adolescent populations. In the adult population, in participants with ID alone, females had higher endorsements of social (i.e., participation in social games, sports, and activities; interest in other’s side of the conversation; and imitation) and communication (i.e., interest in other’s side of the conversation and reading body language) impairments compared to males. This study has considerable implications in both the clinical and research realms as for diagnostic and assessment validity and prioritized treatment needs for females with ASD, as well as stimulating a future research agenda (i.e., considerations such as cognitive ability, comorbidity, course and age, qualitative symptom differences, social/environmental gender biases) in this area. KeywordsAutism spectrum symptoms–Gender differences–Intellectual disability–Lifespan
    Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 10/2011; 23(5):399-420. DOI:10.1007/s10882-011-9235-3 · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    • "In this respect, it is astounding to think that Asperger's and Kanner's articles, though nearly identical in description, were not directly compared until nearly 50 years after their publication dates! In fact, Asperger published 1 year after Kanner but may have been engaged in the investigation of autism well before him (Lyons and Fitzgerald 2007). Their accounts of their patients were virtually parallel in both description and timing, yet culminated in two distinct, though similar disorders in the DSM-IV. "
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    ABSTRACT: The histories of autism and Asperger's Disorder (AD), based on original contributions by Kanner and Asperger, are reviewed in relation to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Their original articles appear to have influenced the distinction between AD and autism made in the DSM-IV. Based on up-to-date empirical research, however, it appears that AD and autism are not qualitatively distinct disorders, but are different quantitative manifestations of the same disorder. The differences between AD and autism may be a function of individual variability in these areas, not the manifestation of qualitatively distinct disorders. The DSM-IV criteria for AD and autism need to be considered with their historical developments, and based on empirical evidence, the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria may be subject to critical review.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 07/2009; 39(11):1560-7. DOI:10.1007/s10803-009-0798-0 · 3.06 Impact Factor
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