Autism – in history

Autism is a complex neuro developmental  disorder. Many causes have been proposed, but its exact causation is still not completely clear.

Eugen Bleuler first used the term “Autism” to describe symptoms of schizophrenia  in 1911.

Donald Triplett was the first person to be diagnosed with autism. He was born in 1933, parents began to seek out the help of specialists that could help his behaviour. They met Dr.Leo Kanner, an Austrian-American psychiatrist for Donald’s treatment.  Dr.Kanner described  Donald’s symptoms as “autistic disturbances of affective contact.” The word autistic had been used in earlier years by Eugen Blueler for Schizophrenia. Dr.Kanner used it for behavioural patterns and observations in his patients. He suggested that parenting might contribute to the development of autism, but he also balanced this suggestion with the observation that the aloneness of these children was present very early on, making it unlikely that the whole picture of the disorder was the result of parenting.  His studies began with Donald Triplet and diagnosis of autism was used with eleven patients that Dr.Kanner was studying at the time and presented his findings on autism in The Nervous Child. In 1943   Kanner published his landmark paper Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact, describing 11 children who were highly intelligent but displayed “a powerful desire for aloneness” and “an obsessive insistence on persistent sameness. Since Kanner’s demarcation of childhood autism, research on autism continues to be an area of increasing interest.

Hans Asperger published an  article on autism as a communication disorder in children in 1944. Hans Asperger is the name sake of “Asperger syndrome,” or high-functioning autism.

Bruno Bettelheim in the 1950s coined the refrigerator mother theory. The Refrigerator mother theory, also known as Bettelheim’s theory of autism, is a discredited psychological theory that the cause of autism is a lack of maternal warmth.  According to Bettelheim   autism was the product of mothers who were cold, distant and rejecting, thus depriving their children of the chance to “bond properly”.

1950s  to 1970s autism was believed to be a psychological disorder, and blame was on bad parenting, usually on mothers.

Now this myth has been debunked by science, and autism is recognised as a disorder of brain development with genetic links.

The first twin study of autism was conducted in 1977 on 11 identical and ten fraternal twins across Great Britain, where at least one of the twins had autism. Concordance for identical twins was 36%, compared to 0% for the fraternal twins.

A variety of genetic factors are likely to be the ultimate cause of most cases of autism. These factors, or in combination with environmental factors, lead a child’s brain to develop differently and result in autistic behaviours.

In the 1970s – Pharmaceutical treatments for autism became the main treatment method.  In 1987   Autism was expanded in DSM including diagnostic criteria. Ivar Lovass, a Norwegian-American clinical psychologist and professor at the University of California, develops intensive behavioural therapy for children with autism. The Lovaas Approach is a form of Applied Behavioral Analysis, used in early intervention programs for children with  developmental delays and Autism.

In 2013 Autism spectrum disorders were classified in DSM-V. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health. The DSM-5 is now the standard reference that healthcare providers use to diagnose mental and behavioural conditions, including autism. 

According to WHO, About one in 160 children has an ASD worldwide

According to Autism Spectrum Australia, an estimated 1 in 70 people in Australia is on the autism spectrum.

Homeopathy in Autism Treatment

Homeopathy has a wide range of medicines which have traditionally been used to treat behavioural problems in children. In any homeopathic medicine selection, emotional symptoms and mental symptoms play a major role. Symptoms like anger, crying, violent behaviour, aversion to company, language delay, fear and anxiety can be found as keynote symptoms in many remedies in Homeopathic Pharmacopeia.  

Homeopathy gained popularity in Autism treatment in the early 2000s.

One study in 2014 on 60 children with autism has demonstrated the usefulness of homoeopathic treatment in the management of neuropsychological dysfunction in childhood autism disorder, which is reflected in the significant reduction of hyperactivity, behavioural dysfunction, sensory impairment as well as communication difficulty.

Clinically homeopathy can show improvements of multiple autism symptoms, including behavioural issues,hyperactivity, anxiety, restlessness, sensory impairment, eye contact, sensitivity, speech and communication.


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