Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 2270–2272 | Cite as

History and First Descriptions of Autism: Asperger Versus Kanner Revisited

  • Nick ChownEmail author
  • Liz Hughes
Letter to the Editor


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.


Academic ethics Asperger Autism Kanner 


Author Contributions

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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.WhitworthEngland, UK

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