How was Asperger's Syndrome discovered
In 1943 and 1944, the child psychiatrist Leo Kanner (1896 - 1981), who worked in Baltimore, and the Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger (1906 - 1980) independently described children with pronounced social disorder and described them as autistic. Both followed the term “autism” or “autistic” from Egon Bleuler, who called a leading symptom of schizophrenia that way.
Schizophrenia and autism were considered two disorders of the same origin and nature until the 1970s. It was assumed that autism was a very early onset form of schizophrenia and therefore called the syndrome "childhood schizophrenia".
Kanner described children who refused contact, did not speak or only showed abnormalities such as echolalia and reversal of personal pronouns in a peculiar manner. He summarized the symptoms under the term "early childhood autism".
Asperger described children who showed abnormal social behavior and problems in interpersonal communication. In contrast to Kanner, Asperger's patients showed no delay in language development or qualitative intellectual abnormalities. His patients consistently exhibited defined interests and activities that consumed much of their time and energy.
In the period that followed, Kanner's publication enjoyed worldwide attention, while Asperger was forgotten because of its German publication. Between 1950 and 1970 Asperger's work became known in German-speaking countries, as well as in Holland and Russia.
In the early 1980s, Lorna Wing (1981) edited a discussion based on Asperger's reports and her own cases about the clinical features, course, differential diagnosis, and treatment of Asperger's syndrome.
After that, interest in Asperger's syndrome began to grow and the climax was reached with the publication of the book on autism and Asperger's syndrome by Uta Frith (1991), in which she translated, among other things, Asperger's original article into English.
Since then, there has been a steady expansion of the literature in areas such as etiology, neuropathology, diagnosis, differential diagnosis and treatment of Asperger's syndrome.
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