Leo Kanner And Asperger Syndrome

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In the 1940’s two doctors in different countries observed children displaying similar behaviors and deficits. One of the doctors was Viennese pediatrician Dr. Hans Asperger and the other was a child psychiatrist named Leo Kanner. Dr. Kanner was the first of the two doctors to report his observations. What he described were behaviors similar to those seen in children with what we call Autistic disorder. The behaviors affected the children’s communication, social interaction and interests. Dr. Asperger later published an article discussing what he dubbed “Autistische Psychpathen im Kindesalter” which translates to “Autistic Psychopathy”. Although some behaviors overlapped, there were differences leading to the belief that these doctors were documenting two different disorders. The two most prevalent were the differences in motor and language abilities (Miller, Ozonoff). Another was Asperger’s belief that his patients were of normal or above average intelligence. It was not until 1994 that Asperger Syndrome was entered into the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM IV), finally becoming an official diagnosis. At the time, Asperger Syndrome (AS) was labeled as a subcategory of autism along with autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive development disorder. Since then, the community of people with Asperger Syndrome has grown to love and better understand the disorder that they live with every day. Some of them have even affectionately named themselves “Aspies”. The cause of AS is still very much unknown.Children with Asperger syndrome start to show signs as early as one to two years old; however a diagnosis is rarely given until later, usually around the ages of th... ... middle of paper ... ...sorders on the spectrum such as AS. Several of the sources used in the composition of this paper refer to the belief that Autism is a form of “extreme male brain”, an exaggeration of male traits caused by high levels of testosterone while in utero. In spite of the disparity between the two genders, there are girls struggling with this disorder, and they often experience more severe symptoms than their male counterpart (Rudacille). The treatment of AS Recently, controversial changes to the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) have been the topics of heated discussions in the psychiatric world. The more recent Fifth Edition (DSM V) has been released with changes that now group all of the sub- categories of Autism in to one. Some of the community views this change as a personal attack on their identity while others are welcoming the change.

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