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. These led to major changes in the organisation of educational and social services. For example, the Local Authority Social Service Act 1970 led to the establishment of social service departments in each locality. Whereas previously

in The metamorphosis of autism
A history of child development in Britain

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)

1950s. The new autism psychologists wanted to define ‘social impairment’ and demand educational rights, and they did not want to be dictated to by medical agencies, or social service agencies who were constructing their own understandings of social deprivation and policy intervention. Since the 1960s, policy towards childhood autism in Britain has been almost wholly managed via the education system, with

in The metamorphosis of autism

across the globe including Sri Lanka, Lithuania, Lebanon, Mexico and Nigeria. 41 All of these organisations worked with international definitions ultimately derived from Wing’s epidemiological study of social impairments. The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have also witnessed a major proliferation of research studies on autism diagnosis, epidemiology

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

lesser-known administrative and bureaucratic systems that shaped and produced new psychological theories and sciences to measure and quantify autism and ‘social impairment’ and which were just as influential in guiding government policy towards children, particularly in the second half of the twentieth century. Historical work on the concepts of ‘feeblemindedness’ and ‘mental deficiency

in The metamorphosis of autism