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(p. 349) Autism 

Chapter:
(p. 349) Autism
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271398.003.0052
Page of

date: 11 December 2019

In this lecture, Winnicott sets out his views on autism in children. He asserts that, over his career as a paediatrician, the picture now called autism was always clearly recognizable. Winnicott finds the grouping slightly false, as mental disorders cannot be classified as tidily as physical disorders. Winnicott gives many examples of children who may have become autistic, but who recovered. He includes cases of children who may use their specialised genius to make a living, although they may not be able to achieve emotional independence. He is aware that the Society for Autism deals not with the causes of autism, but rather with the plight of the parents. However, Winnicott also feels it is not right to censor statements or avoid looking for causes of autism for fear of hurting someone, and he stresses that it is the aetiology of the illness which gives the clues for its prevention.

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