The study of autism in numbers

1943

first publication


on 'autistic disturbances' by children's psychiatrist Leo Kanner
74

years of research


on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), mainly by psychologists and psychiatrists
91

91% dealt with problems


Research focussing on treatment, causes, risk factors, diagnosis and surveillance.
9

only 9% with services


Research into services for persons with autism, other than treatment.


Examples of autistic pleasure
Autistic disturbances of affective contact

Donald Triplett

It was observed at an early time that Donald was happiest when left alone, almost never cried to go with his mother, did not seem to notice his father's homecoming, and was indifferent to visiting relatives.

He seems to be self-satisfied. He was always constantly happy and busy entertaining himself, but resented being urged to play with certain things. (...) He continued spinning objects and jumped up and down in ecstasy as he watched them spin.

Leo Kanner (1943)

Ante laculis viverra

Jonathan Barton

We see when Jonny recognizes a situation and knows what to do. We see the pleasure in his face, the clear indication that he is thinking 'I know this one. I can do this.' He oversees the washing-up now, making sure we do it properly and put everything away after he has dried it.

He wipes the table and puts the cloths away, all the time beaming with pleasure, calm, happy to see something finished properly.

Sheila Burton

What is often so missing from accounts of autism, is an idea of pleasure. Nearly all the stories that circulate about the condition are of difficulties, of screams and rage, of despair. (...) The idea that anything associated with this could in any way contain pleasure seems too perverse, too contradictory. Yet in many ways autism centres on an idea of pleasure.

Stuart Murray in Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination (2008), p. 49

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