The National Book Review

In her original, compelling new book, Stanford University history professor Sheffer establishes a link between autism and Nazism and provides a new way to understand the Third Reich, and the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Impeccably researched through medical notes and contemporaneous accounts, Sheffer’s book focuses on pediatrician Hans Asperger, once championed for his work […]

Read More

Salon: The Nazi history of Hans Asperger proves we need a new word for this type of autism

Back in 2012, the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove “Asperger Syndrome” as an official diagnosis in their manual. Their decision was based on terminological precision rather than ethical considerations; they felt that it ought to be folded into autism spectrum disorders and argued that merging it with the broader spectrum would “help more accurately and […]

Read More Asperger’s Syndrome, the Nazi Regime and the Dangerous Power of Labeling People

time opinion article edith sheffer

If a child receives a medical diagnosis, it’s natural for a parent to jump into research. If the parent is a historian, perhaps the urge is magnified — so when my son was diagnosed with autism at 17 months old, I read widely about the condition, including its historical origins. I learned that the man credited […]

Read More

Highly Reputed Autism Researcher Hans Asperger Implicated in Nazi Programs that Killed Disabled Children

hans asperger

Hans Asperger, an Austrian doctor, who did groundbreaking research in the developmental disorder autism, and also had the disease Asperger’s syndrome named after him, had a “heroic” reputation for his contributions until now. However, new research by historians has revealed that the doctor was involved in a Nazi program, and was responsible for killing disabled […]

Read More

ABC Radio Australia – PM with Linda Mottram Interview Edith Sheffer – The truth behind the namesake of Asperger’s Syndrome

LINDA MOTTRAM: Well, there’ve been huge advances in the understanding of autism but the story of what was separately named Asperger’s syndrome has an unsettling past. The syndrome was named after the war-time Vienna-based, paediatrician, Dr Hans Asperger, and a cloud has long hung over his sympathies. The World Health Organization recently folded Asperger’s syndrome […]

Read More