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A history of child development in Britain
Author: Bonnie Evans

This book explains the current fascination with autism by linking it to a longer history of childhood development. Drawing from a staggering array of primary sources, it traces autism back to its origins in the early twentieth century and explains why the idea of autism has always been controversial and why it experienced a 'metamorphosis' in the 1960s and 1970s. The book locates changes in psychological theory in Britain in relation to larger shifts in the political and social organisation of schools, hospitals, families and childcare. It explores how government entities have dealt with the psychological category of autism. The book looks in detail at a unique children's 'psychotic clinic' set up in London at the Maudsley Hospital in the 1950s. It investigates the crisis of government that developed regarding the number of 'psychotic' children who were entering the public domain when large long-stay institutions closed. The book focuses on how changes in the organisation of education and social services for all children in 1970 gave further support to the concept of autism that was being developed in London's Social Psychiatry Research Unit. It also explores how new techniques were developed to measure 'social impairment' in children in light of the Seebohm reforms of 1968 and other legal changes of the early 1970s. Finally, the book argues that epidemiological research on autism in the 1960s and 1970s pioneered at London's Institute of Psychiatry has come to define global attempts to analyse and understand what, exactly, autism is.

Open Access (free)
Bonnie Evans

The first autism can only be understood in the context of the legal and institutional networks that enabled the spread of psychological theory as applied to infants and children in Britain in the early twentieth century. This chapter examines the integration of the concept of autism into psychological theory in Britain and the significance of

in The metamorphosis of autism
Open Access (free)
Perceiving, describing and modelling child development
Bonnie Evans

the 1960s, psychiatric epidemiology was regarded as a new tool with which to challenge theories of the unconscious in child development. By the 1990s, psychological theories on the significance of unconscious instinctual drives to the development of pathological forms of infantile thought were virtually obsolete. They had been superseded and subsumed within new neuroscientific models for understanding

in The metamorphosis of autism
Bonnie Evans

the finer points of psychological theory could be interrogated in depth. Because the Mental Deficiency, Education and National Health Service Acts made no mention of the concepts of childhood psychosis or schizophrenia, the children diagnosed with these conditions had no legal rights to long-term treatment or education. The Maudsley psychotic clinic was founded partly in order to

in The metamorphosis of autism
Bonnie Evans

about the way to collect and employ scientific data when making claims about children’s early development. As discussed in Chapter 1 , the first autism was adopted into psychological theory in Britain primarily via major mental health institutions, child guidance clinics and progressive and permissive schools. It was not integrated via the

in The metamorphosis of autism
Bonnie Evans

they placed psychological theory and social theory on a par. Wing’s reason to focus on the problems of social interaction was that ‘all the conditions in which the triad of language and social impairments occurs, whatever the level of severity, are accompanied by similar problems affecting social and intellectual skills’. 160 This was in many ways a tautology – of course

in The metamorphosis of autism
Open Access (free)
Bonnie Evans

borderline population. The meaning of ‘autism’, as both a defining state in the development of individuality and an aspect of schizophrenic thinking, has always been dependent upon the broader gestalt of psychological theory and the institutional structures that have supported it. It is for this reason that the closure of mental deficiency institutions had such a profound effect on the theoretical

in The metamorphosis of autism
Bonnie Evans

‘mentally defective’, ‘subnormal’ and ‘psychotic’. They also provided the basis of a new model for testing subjectivity. Unlike mere behavioural criteria, these tests also enabled the formulation of new psychological theories on child development. The application of tests to specifically identify ‘autistic’ children in Britain began in the 1960s with

in The metamorphosis of autism
Mark Jackson

, Marital Tensions: Clinical Studies towards a Psychological Theory of Interaction (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967), pp. 223–5. 18 M. M. Gullette, Safe at Last in the Middle Years: The Invention of the Midlife Progress Novel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). 19 For post

in Balancing the self
Birgit Lang

epitomise Wulffen’s gendered criminal psychological theories: Sperl as the example of the guardian of the law who is fooled by his desire for knowledge; Klarika as the example of a prematurely sexually active teenager whose sex makes her vulnerable. This is what Sperl does not understand, and what causes or at least hastens Klarika’s downfall. Tensions between psychological ex­plana­tions of criminality and notions of biological determinism in Wulffen’s thinking became more marked over time. During the Weimar period these tensions opened his work to critique from various

in A history of the case study