Leo Kanner, “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact,” The Nervous Child 2 (1943):217-50.
This 1943 case study by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner holds a central place in the history of autism. It is often considered synonymous with the syndrome’s discovery. In this article, Kanner described eight boys and three girls seen in his clinic at Johns Hopkins between 1935 and 1943. Their bizarre behavioral similarities helped bring autism to the attention of researchers and clinicians as a disorder of “affective contact.” A more detailed description of this iconic publication can be found here.