ZEBR - REFRAMING AUTISM

The Poor Mothering Myth

The Poor Mothering Myth

The Poor Mothering Myth

Although the 1940’s work of Leo Kanner’s ‘infantile autism’ depicted autism as distinct from schizophrenia, historically autism was seen for years not only as a form of schizophrenia but also as a result of poor mothering.

The clinicians, heavily influenced by early Freud, blamed cold and emotionless mothers for the onset of autism. This lasted well into the late 1960’s, with autism and the term ‘refrigerator mothers’ becoming popular with modern clinicians through the work of psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim.  

This myth has been debunked although many families still bear the scars of this kind of analysis and approach to treatment.

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