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.
The ‘pathology’ of childhood in late nineteenth-century London
fit the established expectations of the ‘modern’ model. When this was not possible, evidence from family, occupation, and domestic spheres was used to demonstrate undeservingness and difference.
Further complexity in the construction of pathologically different childhoods is observed with the case of Frederick F.
He was taken into the care of the Waifs and Strays Society aged just eighteen months old. At this young stage of development it was more difficult to construct the child as falling
By the early 1950s, children
classed with ‘psychosis’,
‘schizophrenia’ and ‘autism’ stood at
the heart of controversies over the social and emotional development
of children, as well as the role of parents, educators, social
workers and other agencies in the socialisation of those children.
Childhood psychosis was, therefore, an
Visualising obesity as a public health concern in 1970s and 1980s
campaign reached a large proportion of the population through its multi-media approach, and later evaluation studies suggested it was successful in securing more widespread awareness of the routes to ‘better health’.
The development of the ‘Look After Yourself’ campaign was the culmination of a major shift in public health that took place in the decades after the Second World War. The rise of risk factor epidemiology in Western medical science and its importation into health
Melissa Dickson, Emilie Taylor-Brown and Sally Shuttleworth
politically accepted model of childhood and its patterns of development.
Kristine Swenson further interrogates this model of the pathologisation of physiological and psychological variation in the following chapter, by turning to popular reform movements which arose in response to what mainstream medicine considered largely innate and unchangeable conditions, and actively pursued alternative methods of constructing such difference. Drawing on the emergence of the American Fowler family – led by the brothers Orson and Lorenzo, their sister, Charlotte, and
introduced subtle changes to the prevailing consensus on diabetes management – for instance, developing primary preventive strategies and bringing professional management closer to performance management – even these innovations were closely tied to developments discussed in the preceding pages.
In concluding a book of ‘contemporary history’, it is tempting to bring the narrative up to date. In an earlier draft, this Epilogue surveyed the changes in diabetes care since the early 2000s, tracing the evolution of the QOF since 2004 and the growth of the
She ‘cheerfully’ recommends that parents and teachers place her Familiar Lessons ‘into the hands of their children as a guide to self-knowledge’.
From the 1830s, American physiology textbooks promoted the better health of the individual and the nation,
and the 1840s ‘saw an extraordinary flowering of the literature of child development’.
The Fowlers come out of this tradition of self-help medicine and
equipment and have to rely solely on urinary tests to assess treatment efficacy as a result. 9
Perhaps the major area of contention in disease management during the 1940s was ‘free diets’. ‘Free dieting’ was pioneered by American and European paediatricians who believed that dietary restrictions and the pursuit of normal glycaemia stunted healthy physical and psycho-social development in young patients. 10 Though loosely defined, ‘free diets’ found a minority of advocates in Britain, with practitioners extending the scheme to adults and seeking to
basis of unconscious thought, could not be measured in the same way
Although Gesell’s social development scales
and Isaacs’ theory of social development were creating new
models of psychological development in infancy
and childhood and the formation of subjectivity and subjective
awareness, no one had attempted to
foundation theory of the origins of human relationships as he
focused on building statistical and social scientific
As discussed in Part one, the 1940s and 1950s saw,
human relations psychology, and the theories of childhood psychosis,
schizophrenia, autoerotism, primary narcissism and autism within it,
enter into a general discourse of child development and subjectivity