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Importance of Understanding the History and Background of Autism

Importance of Understanding the History and Background of Autism

Importance of Understanding the History and Background of Autism

Before it was known as autism, several illnesses, including schizophrenia, were assumed to be related. ‘Autism’ as a diagnosis is a very recent idea. In 1943, Leo Kanner first recognized autism. Early infantile autism was the original name for the disorder. 2017 (Tarbox & Tarbox). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) changed as perspectives on autism changed. The phrase “autism spectrum disorder” was first used in the most recent edition of the DSM. Understanding the development of autism is crucial because its diagnostic criteria have altered throughout time. This has shown that researchers’ understanding is growing. With more knowledge, the capacity to develop ABA programs

You appeared to be required to work as a full-time autistic parenting professional. There were frequently hypotheses that claimed parents of autistic children were emotionally dead or frigid, such as the refrigerator mother theory. Sadly, mothers received most of the blame. According to Waltz (2015), in addition to Bruno Bettelheim’s refrigerator theory, several significant thinkers recognized abnormal parenting as the root cause of autism, including Margaret Mahler, Melanie Klein, and Frances Tustin. The assertions presented are false, as we all know. The MMR vaccine and autism have also been linked. Like the refrigerator theory, if people are not educated or made aware of scientific studies to refute misleading claims, they will believe what they are told. We would never be able to offer evidence-based services or therapies that are proven to exhibit long-term and socially significant behavior changes without studying history and learning from mistakes.


Tarbox, J., & Tarbox, C. (2016). Training manual for behavior technicians working with individuals with autism. Academic Press. (Paperback ISBN: 9780128094082 eBook ISBN: 9780128122167)

Waltz M. M. (2015). Mothers and autism: the evolution of a discourse of blame. AMA Journal of Ethics, 17(4), 353–358.


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Importance of Understanding the History and Background of Autism

Importance of Understanding the History and Background of Autism

Discuss the importance of understanding the history and background of autism, how it has impacted ABA treatments for autism, and the general guiding philosophy of ABA programs. What has the history of autism taught us about pseudoscience like refrigerator mothers?

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