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Steve Silberman:
The forgotten history of autism

TED2015 · 13:48 · Filmed Mar 2015
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Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism. In 1975, 1 in 5,000 kids was estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 is on the autism spectrum. What caused this steep rise? Steve Silberman points to “a perfect storm of autism awareness” — a pair of psychologists with an accepting view, an unexpected pop culture moment and a new clinical test. But to really understand, we have to go back further to an Austrian doctor by the name of Hans Asperger, who published a pioneering paper in 1944. Because it was buried in time, autism has been shrouded in misunderstanding ever since. (This talk was part of a TED2015 session curated by Pop-Up Magazine: popupmagazine.com or @popupmag on Twitter.)

Writer and editor
Steve Silberman is a writer and contributing editor for Wired who covers science and society. His newest book explores neurodiversity and the link between autism and genius. Full bio
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

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