Autism, its relationship to science and to people with the condition

Laurence Arnold


This short paper, adapted from an academic essay written in 2003, attempts to place autism in a historical and cultural context. The author places himself squarely within this context and concludes that autism sits very easily within the social model of disability, it is not a triad of "impairments" but a landscape of neurodiversity where the political boundaries of DSM IV do not sit comfortably with "geographical" realities


Autism; Science; Diagnosis; Culture


American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.).

Baron-Cohen, S., Tooby, J., Cosmides, L (1997) Mindblindness: An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind MIT Press

Baron-Cohen, S (2000) - Is Asperger’s syndrome/High-Functioning Autism necessarily a disability? Development and Psychopathology, 12 (2000), 489–500 - Cambridge Univ Press: Cambridge

Baron-Cohen, S., Richler, J., Bisarya, D., Gurunathan, N., & Wheelwright, S (2003)

The Systemising Quotient (SQ) : An investigation of adults with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism and normal sex differences Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B, Special issue on "Autism : Mind and Brain"

Baron-Cohen, S. (2002) The extreme male brain theory of autism Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6:248-254

Bettelheim, B. (1967) The Empty Fortress New York:The Free Press

Bleuler, E (1911) Dementia praecox or the Group of Schizophrenias. 1911

Blume, H. (1997)- Autistics Are Communicating in Cyberspace Technology

Cybertimes Technology, New York Times June 30th, (retrieved 09/04/2009)

Blunt, W. (2002)- Linnaeus: The Complete Naturalist Princeton University Press March

Dekker, M. (1999) On our own terms: Emerging Autistic Culture

Autism99 online conference ( )

Donnellan, A M. (1985) Classic Readings in Autism New York: Teachers College Press

- includes Leo Kanner - Autistic Disturbance of Affective Contact 1943

Finucci, J. M., & Childs, B. (1981). Are there really more dyslexic boys than girls ? In A. Ansara, N Geschwind, A. Galaburda, M. Albert, & N. Gartrell (Eds,), Sex differences in dyslexia. Townson, MD : The Orton Dyslexia Society.

Frith, U. (1992) - Autism, Explaining the Enigma in Cognitive Development

Blackwell Publishers; (January)

Frith, U (1991) (edited) - Autism and Asperger Syndrome Cambridge: Cambridge University Press - includes Hans - Asperger Autistic Psychopathy in Childhood 1944

Gregor M (1997) translation – Kant, I Critique of Practical Reason, New York:

Cambridge University Press

Happé, F (1999) Understanding assets and deficits in autism - Why success is more interesting than failure The Psychologist (Journal of the British Psychological Society) Volume 12, Part 11

Hume, D (1739) A Treatise of Human Nature

Clarendon Pr / Paperback / Published 1978

Klin, A., Jones, W., Shulz, A, R., Volkmar F. & Cohen D (2002)

Visual fixation patterns in viewing of naturalistic social situations as predictors of social competence inindividuals with autism. Archives of general psychology volume 59 September

Kraepelin, E. (1881 - 1893 Über den Einfluss acuter Krankheiten auf die Entstehung von Geisteskrankheiten. Arch Psychiat Nervenkr 1881; 11: 137-183, 295-350, 649-677 sowie 1882; 12: 65-121, 287 qv. Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie 1893,

Mayes, S. D., Calhoun, S., Crites, D. L.(2001) Does DSM-IV Asperger's Disorder Exist? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology Issue: June, 2001 International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

Pollak, R. (1998) - The Creation of Dr. B : A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim

Touchstone Books

Rimland, B. (1964) - Infantile Autism: The syndrome and its implications for a neural theory of behavior Appleton-Century-Crofts

Schultz, R. T. , Romanski, L. M.. , & Tsatsanis, K. (2000) Neurofunctional Models of Autistic Disorder and Asperger Syndrome: Clues from Neuroimaging

In Klin, A., Volkmar, F., & Sparrow, S. S. (Eds.) Asperger Syndrome. pp 172-209 New York: Guilford Press,

Shattock, P., (1995) - Back to The Future: An assessment of some of the unorthodox forms of biomedical intervention currently being applied to autism. Paper presented at the Durham Conference 1995

Shaywitz, S., Shaywitz, B., et al. (1990). "Prevalence of reading disability in boys and girls: Results of the Connecticut Longitudinal Study." Journal of the American Medical Association, 264(8), 998-1002.

Sinclair, J. (1993) - Don’t mourn for us - Our Voice, the newsletter of Autism Network International, Volume 1, Number 3, (retrieved 09/04/2009)

Tisoncik, L. (undated) Website - Institute for the study of the Neurologically Typical

Wagner, R. & Garon, T. (1999 Learning Disabilities in Perspective' in Sternberg, R. J. & Spear-Swerling, L. (ed) Perspectives on Learning Disabilities: Biological, Cognitive, Contextual, Westview Press,

Wing, W. (1993) - The Definition and Prevalence of Autism: A Review

European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Vol.2, Issue 2, April 1993, pp.61-74

Hogrete & Huber Publishers (retrieved 09/04/2009)

Wing, L. (1999)- Practice Parameters for the Assessment and Treatment of Children, Adolescents, and Adults With Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, December 01 1999

World Health Organisation (1992) International classification of diseases: Tenth edition

Full Text: HTML PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.