History and First Descriptions of Autism: Asperger Versus Kanner Revisited
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When reading Michael Fitzgerald’s chapter entitled ‘Autism: Asperger’s Syndrome—History and First Descriptions’ in ‘Asperger’s Disorder’ edited by Rausch, Johnson and Casanova, a while ago, one of us was struck by his contention that Kanner was guilty of plagiarism as well as non-attribution of Asperger’s 1938 paper ‘Das psychisch abnorme kind’ (Fitzgerald in Asperger’s disorder. Informa Healthcare, New York, 2008) published in a Vienna weekly. Steve Silberman has discovered evidence that Kanner rescued Asperger’s chief diagnostician from the Nazis in 1944 so must have been aware of Asperger’s work and conclusions. Fitzgerald was on the right track but it appears that Kanner may have plagiarised Asperger’s ideas rather than his 1938 paper.
KeywordsAcademic ethics Asperger Autism Kanner
LH identified the topic and contributed to the drafting of the letter. NC drafted the letter. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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- Fitzgerald, M. (2008). Autism: Asperger’s syndrome—history and first descriptions. In J. L. Rausch, M. E. Johnson, & M. F. Casanova (Eds.), Asperger’s disorder. New York: Informa Healthcare.Google Scholar
- Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2, 217–250.Google Scholar
- Silberman, S. (2015). NeuroTribes: The legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar