Leo Kanner
the man who first described autism in 1943
Leo Kanner
Leo Kanner, the man who first described autism in 1943.
Leo Kanner photo

The name Kanner should be pronounced "Connor" (Kanner was Austrian). The mispronunciation always bothered Kanner. Only one person ever got it consistently right, a long-time Irish patient of the Phipps asylum in Baltimore, where Kanner worked, who consistently called him Father O'Connor and said he was ready to give confession. In Unstrange Minds , I argue that Kanner was a brilliant observer. But I also argue that in addition to his clinical skills, there were aspects of his personality that helped him to see the range of symptoms that today make up the autism spectrum. In Kanner's day, unfortunately, it was thought that autism affected only the children of highly educated parents.


©2007 Roy Richard Grinker