Autism can be difficult to diagnose. Many parents find themselves waiting a long time for a diagnosis and some professionals find it hard to decide if a person is on the autism spectrum. This is because autism presents very differently in each person it effects: some people have learning disabilities, some don’t, some have challenging behaviour, some are non verbal, some talk too much!
Leo Kanner first identified the condition in 1943 in a study of 11 children. He found that the children had certain features in common that he later went on to identify as ‘autism’. One of his key findings was that the children presented with the ‘desire for the preservation of sameness’ - and we use routine and predictability in our teaching approaches because of this.
The diagnosis is relatively new! The photo above shows one of the original 11 children - Donald Triplett - he turned 86 this year!
Thanks to the work of Leo Kanner we are gradually growing to understand what ‘autism’ means to the children and families we work with, and strive every day to learn and grow together!