Nick Haslam reviews 'In a Different Key: The story of Autism' by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

Nick Haslam reviews 'In a Different Key: The story of Autism' by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

In a Different Key: The story of Autism

by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

Allen Lane $39.99 hb, 684 pp, 9781846145667

There may or may not be an epidemic of autism, but the idea of 'autism' has been remarkably catching. Once understood as a vanishingly rare condition, identified only in 1943, decades after Sigmund Freud and his followers first explored the psychopathology of childhood, autism has become commonplace. Popular culture celebrates it as an amusing quirk, often embodied in the figure of the boy genius, and some people attribute everyday failures of empathy, tact, or etiquette to their perpetrators being 'on the spectrum'. How did we get to this point?

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Nick Haslam

Nick Haslam

Nick Haslam is professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne, where he teaches social and personality psychology. His most recent book is Psychology in the Bathroom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

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