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July 1960

The Autistic Child

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(1):66-81. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710010068010

In 1943 Kanner called attention to a group of children with a marked disturbance of affective contact which he felt could be differentiated from other severe non-neurotic childhood disorders. In this, and in subsequent, papers he and others further described a relatively uncommon psychotic illness which had the classical triad of inception in the first one-half to one year of life, an insistence on sameness, and an extreme isolation with respect to human contact but not inanimate objects. The new syndrome was named "early infantile autism."

I have had the opportunity to treat a 3½-year-old girl with many of the features of this illness. However, before I discuss the case material, I should like to present a somewhat detailed formal delineation of the syndrome.

The first of the members of this triad, the early onset of the illness, may be difficult to recognize even by a skilled observer. Since this

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