chapter  One
14 Pages

Asperger’s syndrome and Autism: distinct syndromes with important similarities

WithDavid Simpson

This chapter considers Asperger's syndrome in the context of Leo Kanner's description of children with autism and highlight some important areas of difference as well as correspondence. It discusses the relationship of Asperger's syndrome, first, to schizophrenia and, second, to violent behaviour and criminality. The chapter also considers the difficulties that those with Autism or with Asperger's syndrome have with being curious. Hans Asperger was a paediatrician and an advocate of "remedial pedagogy"—a therapeutic educational approach for children with disabilities. Like Kanner, he adopted the word "autism" from Bleuler's original use of the concept in the context of schizophrenia. In Asperger's view, it was the children's autism that disturbed and limited their interaction with their environment, shutting off a relation between themselves and the outside world. The distinction between Autism and Asperger's syndrome could be compared to that between schizophrenia and schizoid personality disorder.