Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD – where it all started!


Back in the 1926 a Russian neurologist called Eva Ssucharewa wrote a research paper where she described a ‘schizoid personality disorder’ in children. The paper was later translated by Sula Wolff and it became clear that what Eva Ssucharewa was describing were the same core deficits of autism that Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger were to write about some 20yrs later (Ssucharewa 1926, Wolff 1995).


In the 1940’s Leo Kanner emigrated from Austria to the USA. He worked as a child psychiatrist in Baltimore and noticed in a small study of only eleven children that they appeared solitary and withdrawn (Kanner, 1943). Unaware of Kanner’s work Hans Asperger a paediatrician from Vienna was using the same word ‘Autism’ for his studies of only five children in Vienna (Asperger, 1944). The word Autism is derived from the Greek word ‘autos’ meaning ‘self’.


In 1798 (yes that long ago!) a Scottish physician Alexander Crichton made some interesting observations in children exhibiting hyperactivity and the inability/difficulty to concentrate. He described a similar state to what we now know as inattentive ADHD a ‘mental restlessness’. Sir George Still in 1902 presented three lectures describing a study he had completed involving 43 children who had serious problems with sustained attention and self regulation. They were also described as aggressive at times, defiant and resistant to discipline. These children however were excessively emotional or passionate. Often they did not learn from the consequences of their actions although their intellect was appeared normal.


Criteria for Autism, Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD are found in ICD-10(WHO 1992) and DSM-1V (APA 1994).


Jelibean embrace ADHD as part the Autism Spectrum. We feel we must however point out that there is still much discussion from academics and researchers regarding this subject. It is our belief that no-one is any ONE condition purely but that we are all completely unique and have a wide range of complexity of differences. This we believe is what makes the Autism Spectrum as beautiful as it clearly is.


So that being said, what actually does it mean? How does it present? We will explore that further in other articles.