Autism: A Social and Medical History by Mitzi Waltz

Autism: A Social and Medical History (2013) contextualises autism as a socially and culturally placed phenomenon, and paints a vivid picture of the important individuals and events in its history. It utilises a social history approach within a disability studies framework, demonstrating that how we see autism as a condition has as much to do with narratives about normalcy, disability and difference as it does with medical knowledge.

This book describes and discusses the lives of people with autism through the centuries, considering the impact of developments such as the industrial revolution, the creation of a specific diagnostic category for autism, the deinstitutionalization movement, and autistic self-advocacy. It includes material from interviews with key researchers, parents, and autistic people, as well as original archival research. It also examines the often troubling effects that particular representations in professional literature and popular media have had on people with autism, their families, and the course of research, education and care.
About the author: Dr Mitzi Waltz was until recently Senior Lecturer in Autism Studies at Sheffield Hallam University (UK), and is now based in Amsterdam. She was Lecturer in Autism Studies at the University of Birmingham from 2007-2012, and Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland from 2002-2007. She has contributed to many key pieces of autism research and resources, and was a Wellcome Trust Fellow in Medical History in 2011.