Autism pp 47-72 | Cite as

The Social Construction of Autism

  • Mitzi Waltz


For many years, practitioners working with children seen to have behavioural, psychological, or developmental problems had little guidance. Textbooks referred to children only in relation to the childhood experiences of adult patients, and child psychology and psychiatry did not exist as recognised specialties. The few clinicians who did see this population in private practice applied adult-based psychoanalytic theories or used the principles put forward by the Child Guidance movement to work primarily with the affected child’s parents, paediatricians, schools, and social agencies (although in cases where the child was seen as feeble-minded or severely disturbed, removal from the family remained a common remedy) (Jones, 2002). Even within residential schools and institutions, direct intervention with individual children was actually quite rare: the emphasis was on group-based work and on behaviour control, often through punitive and even abusive methods.


Down Syndrome Intellectual Disability Autistic Child Social Construction Tourette Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Mitzi Waltz 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitzi Waltz
    • 1
  1. 1.Sheffield Hallam UniversityUK

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