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

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


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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    • "Draaisma (2009) described many media-based portrayals of ASD as misrepresentative, even apt to do harm; however, the public appears to prefer these stereotypical, fictional examples. Similarly, Kanner and Asperger, pioneers in the field of ASD (Lyons & Fitzgerald, 2007), communicated an " essence of autism " (p. 1475). "
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    ABSTRACT: This article explores how storied representations of characters with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are typified in a world that is increasingly influenced by popular media. Twenty commercially published children’s picture books, popular novels, mainstream television programs, and popular movies from 2006-2012 were selected using purposive, maximum variation sampling and analyzed through Krippendorff’s six-step approach to social content analysis. From this 20-unit sample, results show that television characters with ASD tend to be portrayed as intellectually stimulating geniuses who make us aspire to be like them; movies tend to show those with ASD as heroes, conquering seemingly impossible odds; novels tend to present ASD in a complex, authentic context of family and community, rife with everyday problems; picture books appear to be moving towards a clinical presentation of ASD. Common cross-categorical themes portray scientific, clinical, and/or savant-like traits that tend to glamourize challenges inherent to ASD.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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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
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