Historical, Legal, And Unethical Practices Of Autism Essay

1341 Words Jan 28th, 2015 6 Pages
Historical, Legal, and Unethical Practices of Autism
Jasmin O. Lawicki
Broward College

Historical, Legal, and Unethical Practices of Autism
For over 70 years, the definition of autism has continued to evolve and change. This is due in a large part to the growing awareness and continued research of the vast and varied spectrum disorder. With this awareness came the passing of several laws which serve to protect individuals with autism. However, despite these laws and protections, the unethical treatment of individuals with autism continues.
Historical Practices
Today, autism is a well-known disorder. In fact, the rate at which children are being diagnosed with autism has prompted many heated discussions and, perhaps conversely, served an integral role in increasing autism awareness; though, this was not always the case. Indeed, before the 1940s individuals with autism were thought to be suffering from an emotional disturbance, schizophrenia, or psychosis (Baker, 2013; Hanley & Quinn, 2003). However, with the work of psychiatrists like Leo Kanner, the definition of autism began to expand, be refined, and finally grow to encompass all that is now known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Although the word autism had been around much longer, in 1908 it was applied to the withdrawn nature of those suffering from schizophrenia (Sole-Smith, 2014). However, this definition took on new meaning when Dr. Leo Kanner begin studying eleven children who all seemed to display the same…

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