History of Autism/Types

In the year 1912, a Swiss psychiatrist named Eugene Bleuler was the very first to identify a particular pattern in schizophrenia afflicted individuals who seemed to be “self-absorbed.”  It was at this point when Dr. Bleuler labeled this particular form of self-absorbed behavior as autism, and became the first to coin the term.  While this is true, he was not the first to identify and recognize autism as being a completely different and separate entity from schizophrenia as well as other mental illnesses.
It was not until the year 1943 when autism became its own specific condition.  An Australian-American psychologist for children, Leo Kanner, was the very first to recognize the condition of autism as its own individual mental disorder.  Kanner was able to identify and label similar characteristics and conditions in a group of approximately 11 children.  These children exhibited symptoms such as sensitivity to stimulants such as sound or food, having trouble with spontaneous tasks or events, and a noticeable lack of average intellect.  Once he had properly observed these children he had diagnosed them with having early infantile autism.
An Austrian scientist and pediatrician Hans Asperger also described, in detail, his trials and tribulations with a group of autistic children in 1944.  A great portion of the signs and symptoms Kanner’s children where exhibiting also happened in Asperger’s group as well.  Asperger made great note of their clumsy motor skills as well as the difference in speech.  While Kanner’s group seemed to lack necessary conversational and language skills, Asperger’s group spoke like little adults.  Today children who have high functioning autism are generally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
From the 1970’s and pushing forward, autism research and studies began to pick up pace rapidly.  Both education and therapy for autistic children are still in development today, as research has found that autism is far more complex than any scientist had originally thought.  This complexity then led researchers to the conclusion that there are various causes for autism, as the condition is highly complex in the first place.



A particular type of pervasive developmental disorder, generally characterized by the issues in the development of social skills and behaviors, is known as Asperger Disorder.  Many doctors, in the past, have misdiagnosed those children that have Asperger Disorder as being autistic or other disorders similar to autism.  The similarities between both Asperger’s Disorder and autism are there, but there are significant differences that doctors sometimes overlook.  Because of this misdiagnosis and the closeness in both the conditions, it is important for those children suspected of having Asperger Disorder or even autism be carefully monitored and evaluated in order to provide the proper diagnosis so the right treatments can be carried out.
Generally those children who have Asperger’s Disorder tend to function at a much higher level than those children who are diagnosed with autism.  Those with Asperger Disorder commonly possess a normal intelligence level, while those who suffer from autism tend to lack the proper development in language skills, or even motor skills.  Children who are diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder use their speech at the proper ages, although their patterns in speech may differ from those of a normal child.  Many parents or other adults find the children that have Asperger Disorder use speech that is odd for each individual child’s particular age group.
While the cause and root of Asperger’s Disorder is still a mystery to doctors, there is strong research which suggests that the condition of Asperger Disorder is genetic and may run in families.  Those children who suffer from Asperger Disorder are also at a risk for a variety of other psychiatric issues such as depression, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders, as well as schizophrenia.
There are many child and adolescent psychiatric professionals that have received the necessary training in order to properly evaluate children who may have a disorder such as Asperger’s Disorder.  These particular individuals are also able to work one on one with families in order to design and obtain the most effective and appropriate treatment plans available for each particular child.  A common and effective method of treatment for those children who suffer from Asperger’s Disorder includes a combination of special education, behavior modification, psychotherapy as well as a strong support system.  There are even those cases where children with Asperger’s Disorder may benefit greatly from a medication regime.
The overall outlook for those children who have Asperger’s Disorder rather than autism is much more promising.  Because of their normal intelligence levels and raised levels of functioning, many of these children are projected to not only finish high school but also seek out a higher education in a great number of cases.  While the issues with social interaction and being aware of their social surroundings may be difficult, those children with Asperger’s Disorder are able to learn to cope with their condition far more easily than those with autism.  It is not uncommon for people and children with Asperger’s Disorder to develop long lasting relationships with both family members and friends.  Even those with Asperger Disorder can lead a very normal life.

Childhood disintegrative disorder is a condition where children have a completely normal development until around the ages of 2 to 4, and then seem to demonstrate or experience a dramatic increase in the loss of communication, social, and other skill sets that they may have acquired.  Whether the other skills include items such as language, motor skills, or non-verbal communication vary from child to child.  Unfortunately those scientists researching childhood disintegrative disorder have yet to determine the cause of the disorder.
Childhood disintegrative disorder is very similar to autism; many doctors say childhood disintegrative disorder is a less detrimental form of autism.  Once the child has started a normal growth, the noticeable side effects of childhood disintegrative disorder can be seen between the ages of 4-10, where the regression is suddenly much stronger.  In some cases the symptoms of childhood disintegrative disorder have been so severe even the child begins to voice concern over what is happening.  This is most scary for the child, as the aggressive regression is confusing and often times leads to a more hostile child at times.
There are various signs and symptoms to watch out for in way of childhood disintegrative disorder.  The normal growth happens up until the age of approximately two years of age, and then continues to progress up until the age of ten.  Each and every skill the child has acquired may be lessened or completely lost all together.  There are six distinct functional areas where the child will lose such skills.  The skills they lose are as follows expressive language skills (basically being able to produce a speech and communicate a message), receptive language skills (the understanding of language understanding and listening what is communicated), social skills and self-care skills, the control over bowel and bladder, play skills, and motor skills. The lack of normal function or deterioration also occurs in at least in one of these two areas Social interaction, communication, and repetitive behavior and interest patterns.
The causes of childhood disintegrative disorder are still unknown, childhood disintegrative disorder surfaces from within days or weeks while in other cases it matures over a longer period of time. A Clinic report specifies that: “Comprehensive medical and neurological examinations in children diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder occasionally uncovers a fundamental medical or neurological cause. Although the happening of epilepsy is higher in children with childhood disintegrative disorder, experts don’t know if epilepsy plays a major role in the causing of the disorder. Childhood disintegrative disorder is linked to other conditions such as lipid storage, subacute sclerosing panecepphaliyis , tuberus sclerosis. Although the causes are unknown childhood disintegrative disorder is very well linked to other conditions.
There is no treatment for childhood disintegrative disorder. The loss of language and skills related to social interaction and self-care stand rather severe. The affected children face long-lasting disabilities in definite areas and are required to be in long term care. Treatment of Childhood Disintegrative Disorder includes both behavior therapy and medications.
Watching for the symptoms for childhood disintegrative disorder can beneficial to both the child and the parent  to try and help and get treatment for this horrible disease.


Classic Autism, Autistic Disorder or Kanner’s Syndrome
Since the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, studies in regard to Kanner’s Syndrome in both Australia as well as America at the same time.  The unusual behaviors in children were somewhat of a puzzle to two scientists.  Unknown to them, they were both coming to the same conclusions but they were also using the same words in way of describing the happenings and behaviors of the children.  Ironically enough they were both using the same word, autism, even though the degree of behaviors they were both seeing differed vastly in way of severity.
The scientist known as Dr. Leo Kanner dubbed the disorder he was researching Kanner syndrome, otherwise known as autism.  While it is more common to hear the term autism or autistic, Kanner Syndrome is still a widely used name today.  In the 1940’s, Dr. Kanner was conducting research with a large group of children many thought were exhibiting the signs and symptoms of the condition known as schizophrenia.  Delving much deeper into his research he found that the children were not actually showing signs of schizophrenia, but something entirely different.  Autism was the term used to affiliate the conditions with the new disorder he had discovered.
To this day, Kanner’s breakthrough in way of autism and its signs or symptoms hold true today.  The earliest conclusions of his research are also still true to this day.  Throughout the 1950’s and the 1960’s children were being properly diagnosed with autism due to Kanner’s earlier discoveries.  A research paper on his works was being published throughout the world, in English, making it easier for more to learn about this new condition.  Due to this work, more children around the world were being treated properly for their conditions rather than being labeled as something they were not, receiving detrimental treatments.
There are many indications of autism early on in a child’s life.  First is the delayed speech or even lack of speech altogether.  This is possibly the largest sign of autism or Kanner’s syndrome.  It is a very strong indicator.  Next are repetitive movements of body parts.  Whether the part of the body is the head, arms, or feet, repetitive and same movement motions are another strong indication of autism.
Later on in a child’s life if they experience impaired social skills, the child may be slightly or even completely autistic.  They tend to shy away from those they are completely unfamiliar with and even have a hard time socializing with those close to them.  In line with this, having a limited interest in activities or playing with toys is another sign of autism.  Children who are autistic often show these signs quickly on in life, so it is easy to spot them.
Understanding the background as well as the signs of autism is extremely important.  There is no doubt that autism is affecting a large portion of today’s youth, and is something that should be taken very seriously.


A pervasive developmental disorder is a diagnosis which is categorized by a group of disorders that have delays in the development of both socialization and communication skills.  There are many cases where parents are able to identify and notice symptoms very early on throughout the infant life of a child.  While this is sometimes the case, the pervasive developmental disorders are most noticeable in children between the ages of three and five years old.  It is important to immediately seek out medical attention if one notices any signs and symptoms of a pervasive developmental disorder in their child at any given time.
There are various prominent signs and symptoms which may occur that are most noticeable when attempting to identify pervasive developmental disorder.  First and foremost there is language.  A child will either have a loss of or a lack of understanding language.  This is the most common and sought after sign in way of pervasive developmental disorders as it is the most easy to identify.  The lack of understanding may not be large, and often times can be subtle at first, but it is a huge indicator that there may be a pervasive developmental disorder.
Some other signs and symptoms parents should be aware of include repetitive body movements or behaviors, unusual choices in way of playing with toys and objects, difficulty adjusting to new environments, difficulty socializing or relating to people, as well as being uncomfortable with large and busy events.  Autism is the most studied and widely known form of pervasive developmental disorders, and has a variety of similar conditions very close to it.  Some of the most commonly known pervasive developmental disorders include Rett’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Asperger’s Syndrome.  The various forms of pervasive developmental disorder lead to children varying in way of skills, intelligence, and behavioral levels.  There are those children who do not speak at all, and there are those who possess a relatively normal speech pattern.  Those impairments that are seen in most every case include repetitive forms of play and limited social skills; strange response to sensory information such as loud noises and light are also common.
For each of the pervasive developmental disorders there are no known cures.  While there are no cures, there are forms of treatment that work depending on their severity and how often the treatments are carried out.  Proper forms of treatment often aid the children enough to lead normal lives in a social and school setting with the proper support.  Those who have severe cases of pervasive developmental disorders often need regular one on one care and attention in order to function properly in larger settings.
Currently vast amounts of research are being carried out in way of pervasive developmental disorders to find cures and possible prevention methods to protect against these disorders.  Neurology has made vast strides in understanding how to properly diagnose and treat the various d pervasive developmental disorders known throughout the medical fields.

*RETTS SYNDROME: (It will no longer be included as an Autism Spectrum Disorder when the new DSM comes out in 2013. RETTS Syndrome is a genetic disorder.)

A neurological development disorder, seen mostly in girls, is known as Rett’s Syndrome.  Rett’s Syndrome is categorized by the normal development of the brain followed by slower development, loss of coordination or hand use all together, distinguishable hand movements, having issues with walking, intellectual disabilities, and even seizures.  The individual who discovered this particular syndrome is known as Dr. Andreas Rett from Austria, who had first brought this disorder into the medical world through a journal article in the year 1966.  This disorder was not recognized until 1983 when a Swedish researcher, Dr. Bengt Hagberg, also wrote an article on it.
Those children who are diagnosed with Rett’s Syndrome generally exhibit symptoms similar to those of autism.  Some of the most common symptoms found in those who have Rett’s Syndrome include items such as walking on toes, issues with sleeping, having a difficult time chewing, grinding of the teeth, growth is slowed, seizures, hyperventilation, apnea, cognitive disabilities as well as a wide-based gait.
With Rett’s Syndrome there are various stages to this disorder; four in total.  The first stage, known as an early onset, starts between the ages of 6 and 18 months old.  Many doctors overlook this stage due to the disorder being vague at times.  Both parents and doctors may not instantaneously notice the subtle slow of development happening with the child.  Whether it is less eye contact from the infant or they seem to be uninterested in their toys, it is not enough to draw attention to this particular diagnosis.  This particular stage generally lasts only a few months but is able to continue on for greater than one year.
Stage two is the destructive stage known as the rapid destructive stage.  This generally takes place between ages 1 and 4 lasting for any number of weeks or months.  The signs of this stage or generally loss of movement in hands or the child’s language skills; hand gestures such as clapping, tapping, or washing then moving hands to mouth are key points at the early stages
Stage three is the plateau stage, also known as the pseudo-stationary stage.  This general occurs between the ages of 2 and 10 sometimes lasing for many years.  Both motor issues as well as seizures are prominent during this particular stage.  On the other hand, there will be a significant improvement in behavior such as less irritability, crying, or autism-like symptoms.
Stage four is known as the motor deterioration stage lasting for either years or even decades.  The curving of the spine, even more reduced mobility, weak muscles, spasticity, or rigidity are all signs and symptoms of this stage.
There is currently no cure for Rett’s Syndrome, and is generally treated by focusing on the management of the symptoms exhibited by the individual.  Generally there is medication needed for breathing, as well as regular monitoring for other possible illnesses such as scoliosis and heart abnormalities.  Despite how difficult it may be at times, individuals with Rett’s Syndrome can live well into their late 40’s, 50’s, and even beyond.

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