Autism has existed long before many of the vaccines people have tried to blame. The are old medical journals dating back to the 1700’s describing behaviours that are now would get those patients an autism diagnosis. Hell there are other accounts of the probability of autism existing has far back has the Zhou Dynasty. Unfortunately between the Zhou Dynasty (841 B.C. -221 B.C ) and at the very least 1564 A.D (so Shakespeare) many disable people tended not to survive, or were considered court fools if their disability was developmental.
The first documented case was 1483-1546 (Martin Luther), whose caretaker used words that doctors today use for “severe autism” or “level 3”. However his case was not has well documented has one that comes up almost 200 years later. A brother documented his brothers behaviours in 1747 that today would be linked to autism in order to get the inheritance, this was in Scotland. About fifty years following this a medical student documented another case. History knows this case has The Wild Boy of Aveyron in 1798.
The worlds first official vaccine (for cowpox) was in 1796 when the leading founder of vaccinations in the west Edward Jenner successfully inoculated a 13 year old boy. The small box vaccine followed in 1798. What does this have to do with Autism? Simple over the years people have tried regularly to blame autism. However evidence of Autism existence has proven Autism has been around much longer than vaccines. So by the time we get to the most recent vaccine controversy the MMR (which was founded in 1960’s) , there is no link to it causing Autism. Though I imagine while all these vaccines do their jobs or if on the rare occasion make us feel unwell, Autistics would show distress signals, raising “concerns”. Usually that is when parents seek evaluations.
Further more in the early 1900’s though used for schizophrenia patients, Dr. Eugene Bleuler coin Autism from the Latin word Autismus. Which was later (in 1938) applied to people “morbidly self absorbed to the exclusion of all else around them”….ya I know really icky. Later on in 1938 the work of Nazi doctor Hans Aspergers had begun the darkest moment in Autism history, leading to “Aspergers” syndrome to unfortunately become part of the Autism DSM in 1981. Which has now been rectified upon greater understanding in the current DSM-5 has all Autism.
During my looking into the history of autism I unfortunately overlooked one of the women who first contributed documentation of six cases of autistic boys in 1926. Her work on it however wasn’t translated until 1981. That doctor was Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva who at the time was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. At the time of her first case study the term Autistic was fairly new to the world of psychiatry which if you remember was first coined by Doctor Eugene Bleuler (swiss psychiatrist I previously mentioned) about a decade prior. Although he used it to describe behaviours we now associate with schizophrenia. Her work paved the way for further children to receive proper diagnosis has she developed a fuller characterization of traits. Her paper was titled “Die schizoiden Psychopathien im Kindesalter”.
According to what I have been reading she at the time made many contributions to child psychiatry but it only in the past several years that her work has been getting recognition. According to her original papers she had started differentiating differences in autistic characteristics between boys and girls. New research paper on her life has been published in European child & adolescent psychiatry. The paper is called Pioneering, prodigious, and perspicacious: Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva’s life contribution to conceptualizing autism and schizophrenia. (can also find it here https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00787-021-01875-7)
Back tracking to the 1940’s when Kanner hit the scene with his own researcher. Discovering “autism sameness” or “insistence on sameness” (frankly this was probably more so an insistence on routine not necessarily sameness), anyways and dubbed these traits to describe “Kanner Syndrome” or Early Infantile syndrome” (how gross is that). By 1950-1960 he had started the belief that Autism was caused by cold uncaring parenting or “Refrigerator Mothers”.
While this was disputed in the 1960’s by Dr. Benard Rimland & Dr. Eric Schopler, the did determine that Autism was a neurobiological (and this is a very ableist word to link but) malfunction. (Like so much ableist ickness no wonder the Autistic Community has so much to fight against…well disabled communities in general). However they found no actual causes. No one has.
Soon begins another dark hour in Autism history. The search for “treatments” and “cures” through harmful organizations. With thanks (sarcasm) to Dr. Ivar Lovaas and his associates ABA therapy was contrived. Its basis in conversion therapy and compliance training. Many organizations support this work, and infantilize Autistics by perpetuating the idea that Autistics are child like. They do so through use of the puzzle piece symbol. Through funding ABA they contribute to the abuse of Autistics. Through genetics research they strive to find a cure which will inevitably lead to eugenics.
In conclusion Autism has always existed we just have only had a word for over last century. Autism is not caused by vaccines. At the bottom you will find a list of resources not only backing up everything here, but a few added extras since the CDC has already determined vaccines do not cause Autism and a more on depth history on vaccines. There is more information on Ivar as well (including a link to a previous blog on his connection to ABA and ABAs abusiveness).
History of Autism (CW all articles may contain ableist language & possibly puzzle pieces).
Sources for Grunya Sukhareva
Mass resource on ABA and Ivar https://selfdxisvalid.wordpress.com/2021/05/20/mass-resource-list-on-aba/