Welcome to the fascinating world of autism! Have you ever wondered what autism was called in the 80s? Well, in this article, we’ll dive into the past and explore how autism was referred to back then. So, let’s embark on a journey to discover the terminology used to describe this condition in the 1980s.
Autism, a neurological and developmental disorder, has come a long way in terms of understanding and recognition. But in the 80s, it was known by a different name. Back then, the term commonly used to describe autism was “infantile autism” or “childhood autism.” These terms reflected the belief that autism primarily manifested itself in early childhood.
As our understanding of autism progressed, so did the terminology. The name “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD) emerged in the 1990s to encompass the wide range of symptoms and behaviors associated with the condition. This more inclusive term acknowledges that autism exists on a spectrum, with individuals varying in their strengths, challenges, and level of support needed.
So, join us as we explore the history of autism and uncover how it was referred to in the 80s. Let’s gain insights into the past and embrace the present, fostering greater understanding and acceptance of autism in our society. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
What Was Autism Called in the 80s?
Welcome to our in-depth article exploring the terminology and understanding of autism in the 1980s. In this article, we will delve into the language used during that time to describe autism and how it has evolved over the years. Join us as we explore the history and perceptions of autism in the 80s, shedding light on the progress that has been made in our understanding of this complex condition.
The Evolution of Autism Terminology
During the 1980s, autism was commonly referred to as “childhood schizophrenia” or “infantile schizophrenia.” This terminology reflected the prevailing belief that autism was a form of schizophrenia that manifested in early childhood. However, it’s important to note that this perception was based on limited knowledge and understanding of autism at the time.
The term “autism” itself was coined in the 1940s by psychiatrist Leo Kanner, who used it to describe a specific set of traits and behaviors observed in children. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the medical community began to distinguish autism as a separate disorder from schizophrenia. This shift in understanding paved the way for the development of specialized diagnostic criteria and therapies for individuals on the autism spectrum.
As our understanding of autism deepened and research advanced, the diagnostic criteria and terminology continued to evolve. In 1987, the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) was introduced, which established the diagnosis of “autistic disorder” as a distinct condition. This marked a significant step forward in recognizing and addressing the unique needs of individuals with autism.
Perceptions and Challenges in the 80s
In the 1980s, autism was still widely misunderstood and stigmatized. Many people held erroneous beliefs, associating autism with mental illness or placing blame on parents for their child’s condition. This lack of understanding resulted in significant challenges for individuals with autism and their families, as they often faced discrimination, limited support, and inadequate educational resources.
During this time, there was a prevailing emphasis on institutionalizing individuals with autism rather than providing community-based support and services. Many families felt isolated and struggled to find appropriate educational opportunities for their children. Additionally, the limited understanding of autism often led to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, further compounding the challenges faced by autistic individuals and their families.
Despite these obstacles, the 1980s marked a turning point in raising awareness about autism. Parent-led advocacy groups emerged, demanding better services and support for their children. These efforts paved the way for increased research funding, improved diagnostic capabilities, and the recognition of autism as a unique neurodevelopmental condition.
The Shift Towards Person-First Language
One of the significant developments in how autism is discussed and understood today is the shift towards person-first language. Person-first language emphasizes recognizing the individual rather than defining them solely by their autism diagnosis. This change in language promotes a more inclusive and respectful approach to discussing and interacting with individuals on the autism spectrum.
In the 1980s, however, person-first language was not widely used. Autism was often referred to as a defining characteristic of an individual, such as “autistic child” or “autistic person.” While well-intentioned, this terminology placed the focus solely on the person’s diagnosis rather than acknowledging their unique qualities and abilities.
Today, person-first language is encouraged, promoting phrases such as “individual with autism” or “person on the autism spectrum.” This linguistic shift recognizes that individuals are more than their diagnosis and encourages a more nuanced understanding of their strengths, challenges, and identities.
Improving Support and Understanding
In recent decades, there has been significant progress in recognizing and supporting individuals with autism. Research has led to a better understanding of the condition, resulting in improved diagnostic criteria, early interventions, and a broader range of educational and support services.
Today, advocates continue to work tirelessly to increase acceptance, understanding, and inclusion for individuals on the autism spectrum. Efforts to raise awareness, advocate for policy changes, and promote education about autism have made a significant impact in improving the lives and opportunities available to autistic individuals.
While challenges remain, it is vital to acknowledge the progress made since the 1980s. The evolving terminology and increased understanding of autism have fostered greater acceptance and support for individuals on the spectrum, allowing them to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.
The history of autism terminology is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of our understanding. In the 1980s, autism was often referred to as “childhood schizophrenia,” which reflected the limited knowledge and understanding of the time. However, as research advanced and awareness grew, autism began to be recognized as a separate condition. Today, person-first language and a more inclusive approach are encouraged, reflecting a more nuanced understanding of autism and promoting acceptance and understanding. Through ongoing advocacy and education, we can continue to improve the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum.
Key Takeaways: What Was Autism Called in the 80s
In the 1980s, autism was referred to as “childhood schizophrenia” due to a lack of understanding at the time.
Autism was also sometimes called “infantile autism” or “Kanner’s syndrome” after Dr. Leo Kanner, who first identified the condition.
The diagnostic criteria for autism were limited and focused mainly on observable behaviors.
There was little acknowledgement of the wide spectrum of autism and its varying characteristics.
Today, we have a better understanding of autism as a neurological condition with diverse presentations and are working towards acceptance and inclusion.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the 1980s, autism was referred to by different names and categorizations. Here are some frequently asked questions about what autism was called during that time.
1. How was autism referred to in the 80s?
In the 1980s, autism was often referred to as “infantile autism” or “childhood autism.” These terms were commonly used to describe the condition that we now refer to simply as autism. The understanding of autism was still evolving, and these terms highlighted the age of onset and characteristics seen in children.
However, it’s important to note that even within the medical community, there were debates and disagreements about the categorization and terminology used for autism during this time period.
2. Was there a different name for autism in the 80s?
Yes, “Kanner’s syndrome” or “Kanner’s autism” was another name used for autism in the 80s. It was named after Dr. Leo Kanner, who is considered one of the pioneers in the field of autism research. Dr. Kanner described the core features of autism based on his observations of children in the 1940s, and his work laid the foundation for understanding autism in subsequent decades.
While the term “Kanner’s syndrome” was less commonly used in the 80s compared to the term “autism,” it still represented the recognition of Dr. Kanner’s significant contribution to autism research and understanding.
3. How did the understanding of autism change in the 80s?
In the 1980s, the understanding of autism began to evolve, moving beyond viewing it solely as a childhood disorder. Researchers and professionals started recognizing that autism could persist into adulthood and that individuals with autism had a wide range of abilities and challenges. This shift led to a broader understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the recognition that autism is a lifelong condition.
The concept of autism spectrum disorder encompassed a continuum of abilities and challenges, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the condition. This shift in understanding paved the way for a more inclusive approach to supporting individuals with autism and their families.
4. Were there any controversies surrounding autism in the 80s?
Yes, there were multiple controversies surrounding autism in the 80s. One notable controversy was the vaccine-autism controversy, which emerged based on a now-discredited study suggesting a link between vaccines and autism. This controversy fueled public concern, leading to distrust in vaccines and impacting vaccination rates in some communities. However, extensive research since then has consistently debunked any link between vaccines and autism.
Another controversy during that time was the debate over the cause of autism. Some theories proposed that it was caused by “refrigerator mothers” or emotional neglect, which is now widely discredited. These controversies highlighted the need for scientific rigor and evidence-based research to understand autism accurately.
5. How did the 80s shape the understanding and treatment of autism?
The 80s were a transformative period for the understanding and treatment of autism. The concept of autism spectrum disorder paved the way for recognizing the wide range of abilities and challenges individuals with autism experience. This understanding led to more individualized approaches, focusing on supporting each person’s unique needs and strengths.
The 80s also saw the development and implementation of early intervention programs for children with autism. These programs emphasized early diagnosis and tailored interventions to support optimal development. They played a crucial role in establishing the importance of early intervention in improving outcomes for individuals with autism.
Back in the 1980s, autism was known by a different name. It was called “infantile autism” or “childhood autism.” These terms were used to describe a neurological disorder that affected a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Over time, our understanding of autism has grown, and we now use the term “autism spectrum disorder” or ASD to encompass the wide range of symptoms and challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum. Today, we continue to learn more about autism to better support and understand those affected by it.