The late Hans Asperger, one of the medical figures at the forefront of unearthing autism, apparently had a dark past.
A Shocking Revelation
A new research revealed that Asperger collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. Herwig Czech, a post-doctorate assistant at the Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, spent the past eight years researching the pioneering Austrian pediatrician. Czech released his findings in a new volume of Molecular Autism.
Czech was able to make the shocking connection by going through the doctor's records. While combing through the documents, Czech discovered that Asperger willingly involved himself with the Nazi Party. It turns out that Asperger worked very carefully to figure out which children were suitable to help the fascist political party.
The doctor found that if the children were unsuitable for the Nazi regime, Asperger would send them to Am Speigelgrund clinic, which the Nazis set up as a prison for the children that were considered unworthy of being part of the Nazi way of life. Nearly 800 children died at Am Speigelgrund.
Rewarding A Villain
Following the war, Asperger became the chair of pediatrics at the University of Vienna. The doctor stated when he was appointed to the role that he refused to hand over children to the Nazis. However, Czech pointed out that Asperger actually became an eager and loyal supporter. In return for his loyalty, the fascist political party promised him several career advancements.
Autism In The Headlines
As Asperger's legacy is questioned due to his ties with the Nazis, other autism and Asperger's syndrome stories have made headlines as well. Earlier this year, a Maryland family experienced their worst nightmare when their daughter, Rebecca, who suffered from both mental illness and Asperger's syndrome, became a victim of patient dumping. A video of the University of Maryland Medical Center hospital workers dropping off Rebecca, as she was wearing only socks and her hospital gown, went viral. Rebecca's family lawyer stated that she could have died from hypothermia.
Meanwhile, a National Health Interview Survey revealed that autism spectrum disorders have plateaued among children and teenagers aged 3 to 17 years old, following a 20-year increase in diagnoses. The study also showed that white children are the most inclined to develop any form of the autism spectrum disorder. In 2017, scientists discovered 18 new genes that were linked to autism.
Symptoms Of Asperger's Syndrome
Prior to Czech's revelation about Asperger's dark association with the Nazis, the doctor was hailed for his work on autism spectrum. Web-MD states that signs of Asperger's syndrome start to develop when kids enter the preschool stage. Some of the symptoms include not showing empathy, not picking up on social cues, avoiding eye contact, and having a heightened sensitivity.
As children move up into their pre-teen and teenage years, they might find the task of fitting in with their contemporaries extremely difficult and might be too immature for their age. As adults, they can learn social skills and understand their strengths and weaknesses.