- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Asperger's syndrome

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A serious disorder resembling autism, usually manifesting in school age with poor ability to communicate, abnormal speech, lack of empathy and imagination, repetitive activities. The disorder continues throughout a person's life. Aetiology unclear; thought by some to be a subgroup of autism and not a clinical entity.

Hans Asperger in 1944 published a paper that described a pattern of behaviours in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but who also exhibited autistic-like behaviours and marked deficiencies. Leo Kanner (1894-1981) described infantile autism in 1943.

We thank Jared Stewart for information submitted.


  • Eugen Bleuler:
    Das autistische Denken.
    Jahrbuch für psychoanalytische und psychopathologische Forschungen, Leipzig & Wien, volume 4, 1912.
    The Swiss psychiatrist and pyschologist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939) coined the term autism, from the Greek word "Autos", which means self.
  • L. Kanner:
    Autistic disturbances of affective contact.
    The Nervous Child, New York, 1943, 2: 217–250.
  • H. Asperger:
    Die "autistischen Psychopathen" im Kindesalter.
    Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, Berlin, 1944, 117: 76-136.
  • Samuil S. Mnukhin and D. N. Isaev:
    On the organic nature of some forms of schizoid or autistic psychopathy.
    Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 1975, 5: 99-108.
    Mnukhin and Isaev found a high incidence of epileptic seizures in autistic children, indicating autism has an organic, neurological basis.
  • L. Wing:
    Asperger's syndrome: A clinical account.
    Psychological Medicine, London, 1981, 11: 115-129.

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