What exactly is Autism?


‘Autism’ was coined in 1912 by the Swiss psychiatrist, Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from the Latin word ‘autismus’. He described a type of what we now know as ‘childhood schizophrenia’. His research, however, showed only a close relation to how autism is thought of today. According to Bleuler, “The schizophrenics who have no more contact with the outside world live in a world of their own. They have encased themselves with their goals and wishes. They cut themselves off, however much as possible from any contact with the outside world”. This separation from reality with the relative and supreme prevalence of their internal life is seen as a mental imbalance.