Evidence for autism in folklore?

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Roslyn Kessler asked a question: Evidence for autism in folklore?
Asked By: Roslyn Kessler
Date created: Tue, Mar 30, 2021 9:40 AM
Date updated: Sat, Nov 26, 2022 7:02 PM

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Evidence-based interventions in autism

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Fairytales and folklore dating back hundreds of years contain evidence of autism, say Australian researchers. Their findings, published in the current issue of the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, suggest autism existed long before it was formally recognised in 1943.

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Evidence for autism in folklore? Arch Dis Child. 2005 Mar;90(3):271. doi: 10.1136/adc.2003.044958. Authors J Leask 1 , A Leask, N Silove. Affiliation 1 National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, The Children's Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. JulieL3 ...

In the wake of the now settled MMR controversy and attempts to link the vaccine with autism, there has been widening interest in whether autism has increased in incidence over the past two decades. 1, 2 While this question is yet to be fully resolved, folkloric heritage suggests the existence of autism long before its formal recognition in 1943. 3

attempts to link the vaccine with autism, there has been widening interest in whether autism has increased in ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS incidence over the past two decades.1 2 While this question is NCIRS is supported by The Commonwealth Department of Health yet to be fully resolved, folkloric heritage suggests the and Ageing, The NSW Department of Health, and The Children’s existence of autism long before its formal recognition in Hospital at Westmead. 1943.3 .....

We suggest that evidence for the existence of autism before the twentieth century lends force to the argument that the disorder’s existence is not just a product of recent technol-ogies or the environments that these technologies have created. Whether such technologies have augmented an existing predisposition in some individuals remains to be

DOI: 10.1136/ADC.2003.044958 Corpus ID: 41834639. Evidence for autism in folklore? @article{Leask2005EvidenceFA, title={Evidence for autism in folklore?}, author={J. Leask and A. Leask and N. Silove}, journal={Archives of Disease in Childhood}, year={2005}, volume={90}, pages={271 - 271} }

Folklore tells us that the fairies needed human children to maintain their existence; and in some stories, it is said that the fae are unable to have healthy (or even) children of their own. What is left in the human world is a half child, seemingly uncommunicative and lacking the ability to express emotion, given to unexplained crying, and often unable to speak.

Evidence from autism can appear to point towards some such conclusion, for it is well known that autistics have profound difficulties both in interacting with and understanding others and understanding stories about their sophisticated intentional actions.

Let’s talk about autism. In Celtic folklore, in tales from Scandinavia, the British Isles and Germany, fairies have a weakness for beautiful babies, abducting them and leaving in their place a “changeling”, a substitute, a child who is the exact duplicate of the stolen child, but who, in reality, is merely his reflection and always has some characteristic that gives him away, usually a disability.

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