This unique book is the first to fully explore the history of autism from the first descriptions of autistic-type behavior to the present day. It features in-depth discussions with leading professionals and pioneers to provide an unprecedented insight into the historical changes in the perception of autism and approaches to it, and presents carefully chosen case studies and the latest findings in the field.
Evidence from many previously unpublished documents and illustrations is included, plus interviews with parents of autistic children acknowledge the important contribution they have made to a more profound understanding of this enigmatic condition.
"No one has attempted to write the history of autism so comprehensively before. Adam Feinstein's highly readable but remarkably thorough book contains a treasure-trove of conversations with the scientists, clinicians, lobbyists, and parents who have shaped the development of autism in both research and policy. The timing of this book is opportune, as the pioneer generation become 'emeritus'. History-telling is never wholly objective, but Feinstein (the science-writer, parent, and international conference organizer) is better placed than almost anyone to document the extraordinary changes that have happened to the autism community world-wide since the 1940s onwards. This book is an important contribution to the history of medicine and a unique resource for future generations who will build on their predecessors."
--Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University
"From the many years before Kanner's 1943 description when the condition was known by other names, through all that has happened to the present time, along with; a glimpse of the future, Feinstein explores the evolutionary journey of autism in an enlightened, educational, and entertaining fashion. Nowhere will you find a more comprehensive, carefully documented and eminently readable account of the history of autism than this book."
--Darold A. Treffert, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Medical School, USA
"Adam Feinstein provides an essential historical context for autism; one of the most contentious childhood diagnoses today. This is a grounding book for those ready to look beyond pet theories, 'magic bullets' and 'treatment of the day'. This book will navigate you beyond the idea of any 'one autism' and leave you with the clarity, hope and opportunity for new directions inherent in that realization."
--Donna Williams, Dip Ed, BA Hons, author and autism consultant
"Of interest to researchers, clinicians and parents, this volume provides a detailed perspective on the history of autism and related disorders. Writing from the perspective of a parent, Adam Feinstein brings the people and concepts vividly to life in this insightful and comprehensive book."
--Fred R. Volkmar, Irving B. Harris Professor and Director, Child Study Center Yale University, USA
"The field of autism has been in need of a solid historical account of the many changes since Kanner first coined the term autism in 1943, and Feinstein's book finally fills that gap. His novel approach of telling the story of autism through interviews with the pioneers, their associates, and their family members is creative and fascinating. What wonderful stories these people tell, how well the author passes the stories on, and what a terrific way to relate the history of the field.
Feinstein's deep understanding of the field leads to excellent questions and penetrating discussions. This wonderful combination will be irresistible to anyone interested in how the field got to where it is now and where it might be going."
--Gary B. Mesibov, Professor, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, USA
400 pages. 2010