Kanner described Donald and ten other children in a 1943 paper entitled, Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact1. In this initial description of ‘infantile autism?, which went on to become a classic in the field of clinical psychiatry, Kanner described a distinct syndrome instead of previous depictions of such children as feeble-minded, retarded, moronic, idiotic or schizoid. In the words of his contemporary Erwin Schrödinger, Kanner “thought what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.”
Autism is not an historical illness. It appeared in 1943, when Thimerosal was first coming into widespread use as a vaccine preservative!