Beatrice Otter beatrice_otter at zoho.com
Sat Oct 19 05:17:41 BST 2019

---- On Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:02:48 -0700 Fred Smith <mailto:fredex at fcshome.stoneham.ma.us> wrote ----
I am probably an ADD adult, but have never been diagnosed. back in the 
1950s AFAIK they weren't diagnosing it like they do now. 

Beatrice Otter:
I'm pretty sure they hadn't even discovered it as a condition in the 1950s and were just assuming it was people being lazy and stupid.

Autism they did know about by the 1950s and 1960s, when my Dad was a kid, but pretty much the only way you could get diagnosed was if you were an upper class white boy with no other neurological or psychological conditions* with educated parents who knew someone who knew someone who knew Dr. Leo Kanner.  As my Dad was a working-class kid with working-class parents on the opposite coast, he didn't get diagnosed.  When I was a kid in the 80s, I didn't get diagnosed because I was a girl and a good student.  (I got diagnosed when I was in grad school because I needed the paperwork in order to get accommodations.)  But my baby brother is sixteen years younger than I am, and he got diagnosed at age three, largely because a friend of the family insisted he get tested.  (My parents: there's nothing wrong with him, he's just like his big sister was at that age!)  As we learned more about the condition because of his diagnosis, it explained SO MUCH about my Dad's entire family.

*70% of all autistics have at least one other neurological or psychological condition; 40% have two or more.  Anxiety is the most common, but depression, epilepsy, dyslexia, prosopognosia, and a range of other issues are also quite common.  However, because Kanner wanted to make sure nobody could claim that his pet disorder that made his name and reputation was the result or side effect of any other disorders, and because neither he nor anyone else did any prevalence studies of autism until the 1980s, he refused to diagnose anyone with any other conditions.

Beatrice Otter

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