Autism Spectrum Disorders
“Autism doesn't have to define a person.” Singer and actress Adrienne Bailon made this remark while volunteering at an Autism Speaks fundraiser. She, like many others have been involved and concerned with the rapid rise in autism cases over the past few years (Adrienne Bailon). Over the years autism has been growing at an unchecked rate (Sicile-Kira 5) since the early two thousands. This worldwide increase has stemmed a newfound interest in and study of the disorder that affects many people. Because it is spreading so fast, the need to learn more about it is rapidly emerging. Much can be learned about autism by focusing on the observations, causes, and misconceptions concerning the disorder.
Autism first started being recognized in the 1940s (Sicile-Kira 7). The scientist Leonard Kanner, a professor at John’s Hopkins University studied the disorder he termed, as a potent neurological disorder (Sicile-Kira 10). Hans Asperger was an Austrian scientist who observed four boys with autism who were less affected by the disorder in the early 40s. Asperger focused on the syndrome that now holds his name (Sicile-Kira 8)He showed that Asperger’s syndrome could lead to incredible intellectual ability in an abundance of areas, including mathematics and languages. These studies lead to the question of how the disorder develops.
Shockingly, it was Kanner himself who first put a label on what he thought was the cause. The “Refrigerator Mother” was what he determined the root of the problem (Sicile-Kira 12). This phrase was defined as a parent, more specifically a maternal figure, who was cold and unfeeling. The lack of warmth and love for the child, he guessed, was the core reason for the disorder (Laidler). In a 1960 TIME interview, he stated the mothers of autistic children were “just happening to defrost enough to produce a child” (Laidler). However, he overlooked a large piece of information when coming to that conclusion. The reason the...