1893 – German Psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin introduces a diagnostic entry of “dementia praecox” in Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie
“Sub-acute development of a peculiar simple condition of mental weakened occurring at a youthful age”
Labeled as a degenerative disorder
1943 – Austrian psychiatrist and physician Leo Kanner coined the term “early infantile autism”
Characterized by “deficits in communication, unusual cognitive abilities, behavioral problems, and unimaginative play”.
1950s-1960s – Bruno Bettelheim posits theory that autism was a psychological disturbance caused by “apathetic mothers with poor parenting skills and lacking maternal instinct”.
1970s- Susan Folstein and Michael Rutter conduct and publish first scientific study of autism in twins, thereby refuting Bruno Bettelheim’s theory and proving a genetic linkas one of the causes of autism
1980 – Diagnostic criteria were established for “pervasive infantile autism” in the DSM III
1987 – “Infantile Autism” renamed “Autistic Disorder” in DSM IV
1991 – First assessment tool to identify children with Autism created
Lord, Rutter, and LeCouteur
Austism Diagnostic Interview
1997 – Autism is added as a developmental delay under IDEA
1998 – Geneticists report link between autism and chromosomes 15q & 7