In 1943, Leo Kanner differentiated autism from childhood schizophrenia. In the 1970s, Bernard Rimland challenged the idea that autism was psychological, asserting that it was neuro-biological.
In 1966, the behavior analysis approach was first used in the treatment of autism by Dr. Ivar Lovaas of UCLA. In 1987, he published a study documenting the success of this treatment, finding that 47 percent (9 out of 19) of the children who received 40 hours of intervention per week were able to enter typical schools and complete first grade successfully.
Other Key Names in the Field:
- Hans Aspergers: Identified Asperger syndrome
- Eric Courchesne: First to identify deficits in the cerebellum
Autism is diagnosed based on behavior theory, which lends itself to a focus in treatment and intervention.