*Encouragement is the best medicine to give someone. If I were to pick any gift to have in helping others, that would be the one*

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When Was Asperger's Syndrome Discovered?

Every wonder where the term Asperger or Asperger's Syndrome came from?  I've been asked this question recently.  Although I knew it was from a Doctor, I thought it'd be neat to do some research of my own.

Some of the information I found is from the Wikipedia and you can see full page HERE.

Asperger performing a psychological
test on a child at the University Pediatric
Clinic, Vienna,c. 1940.
Hans Asperger published a definition of Asperger syndrome in 1944 that was nearly identical with the definition that a Russian neurologist Ssucharewa (Груня Ефимовна Сухарева, born 1891) had published already in 1926. (Interesting)    Hans Asperger identified in four boys a pattern of behavior and abilities that he called "autistic psychopathy". The pattern included
  • a lack of empathy 
  • little ability to form friendships 
  • one-sided conversations 
  • intense absorption in a special interest 
  • clumsy movements 

Asperger called children with AS "little professors" because of their ability to talk about their favorite subject in great detail. It is commonly said that the paper was based on only four boys. However, Dr. Günter Krämer, of Zürich, who knew Asperger, states that it "was based on investigations of more than 400 children."

Asperger was convinced that many of the children he identified as having autistic symptoms would use their special talents in adulthood. He followed one, Fritz V., into adulthood. Fritz V. became a professor of astronomy and solved an error in Newton’s work he originally noticed as a child. Asperger’s positive outlook contrasts strikingly with Leo Kanner's description of autism, of which Asperger's syndrome is often considered to be a high-functioning form. In his 1944 paper, as Dr. Uta Frith translated it from the German in 1991, Asperger wrote:

We are convinced, then, that autistic people have their place in the organism of the social community. They fulfil their role well, perhaps better than anyone else could, and we are talking of people who as children had the greatest difficulties and caused untold worries to their care-givers.

Near the end of World War II, Asperger opened a school for children with autistic psychopathy, with Sister Victorine Zak. The school was bombed towards the end of the war, Sister Victorine was killed, the school was destroyed and much of Asperger's early work was lost.

As a child, Asperger himself appeared to have exhibited features of the condition subsequently named after him. He was described as a lonely and remote child, who had difficulty making friends. He was talented in language; in particular he was interested in the Austrian poet Franz Grillparzer, whose poetry he would frequently quote to his uninterested classmates. He also liked to quote himself and often referred to himself from a third-person perspective.

Did you know?
Asperger's birthday, February 18, was declared International Asperger's Day by Aspergers Services Australia and is observed by various autism-related organizations.


chrisd said...

I have a 14yo w/asperger's and I disagree about empathy. If anything he is too empathetic--inappropriately so.

10 yo was probably our most difficult time. Thing got so much better when he turned 12. Hang in there.

My blog is:


Virginia (Jenny) said...

I think that's why they call it a spectrum. It can vary between each person. For example, my son does lack empathy (big time) but doesn't have the clumsy trait. He has a lot of the signs up Aspergers but not all of them.

Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment. :) I will check if you are on my blogroll.

chrisd said...

My son totally has the clumsy trait. Whew! Watching him run to day, I wanted to turn away. He looks like the Scarecrow!

Virginia (Jenny) said...

Gosh, I love when I get comments on here vs. only on Facebook about the blog posts. Not everyone has facebook so it limits the conversations. Thanks for posting your thoughts here. :D

Really? I've never seen that happen before (what you were saying about being clumsy) because I've never met any other Aspergers kids nearby me. My son also does not talk like a professor but he's incredibly obsessed with games and talks about it all the time. When he talks he it's like this "HimomIlovethisonegamecanyougetitforme?ImhungryIhavetopottyhaveyouseenthatonegameatthestore?

He talks really fast and mumbles so I have to tell him to slow down and talk louder. :)

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