The Age of Autism: Donald T. and Fritz V.

They were born within four months of each other, Fritz V. in June of 1933 and Donald T. that September. Fritz was born in Austria, Donald in Mississippi, but they had a surprising amount in common.

When Donald was taken by his beleaguered parents to Johns Hopkins University in 1938, he acted like no 5-year-old that famed child psychiatrist Leo Kanner had ever seen.

Fritz made an equally vivid impression on Hans Asperger, the pediatrician who first saw him in 1939 at age 6 in Vienna. Asperger described him as “a highly unusual boy who shows a very severe impairment in social integration. … His gaze was strikingly odd. It was generally directed into the void.”

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