Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

pp 1-6

Date: Latest Version

Asperger and the Framing of Autism: His Legacy and Its Philosophical Commitments

  • Glenn M. HudakAffiliated withUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro Email author 

Hans Asperger (1906–1980) is credited along with Leo Kanner (1894–1981) as one of the “discoverers” of autism. Asperger’s pioneering work was published in 1944 as a Habilitation, a second dissertation at the University of Vienna. Kanner’s work, on the other hand, was published a year earlier in 1943 in America at the Johns Hopkins clinic in Baltimore. Uta Frith notes while Kanner enjoyed wide success, Asperger remained relatively unknown, if not ignored. Indeed Asperger’s path breaking dissertation “‘Autistic Psychopathy’ in Childhood,” (Asperger 1991) was not translated into English until 1991 by Frith herself, some 50 years after the original German publication. It is a remarkable coincidence then that both described independently a type of troubled child that no one paid attention to prior to the label autistic. Both were in agreement regarding the difficulties in the children they studied: awkward social interactions, difficulties in communication, resistance to changes in routine, ...

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