Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

    In their landmark papers, both Kanner and Asperger employed a series of case histories to shape clinical insight into autistic disorders. This way of introducing, assessing and representing disorders has disappeared from today's psychiatric practice, yet it offers a convincing model of the way stereotypes may build up as a result of representations of autism. Considering that much of what society at large learns on disorders on the autism spectrum is produced by representations of autism in novels, TV-series, movies or autobiographies, it will be of vital importance to scrutinize these representations and to check whether or not they are, in fact, misrepresenting autism. In quite a few cases, media representations of talent and special abilities can be said to have contributed to a harmful divergence between the general image of autism and the clinical reality of the autistic condition.

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