It’s been almost 70 years since the ‘refrigerator mother’ surfaced as an explanation of autism. The hypothesis, since debunked, was courtesy of Leo Kanner and Bruno Bettelheim, both physicians with the taste for the fad of the day – psychoanalysis. More wild suggestions as to what causes autism have followed.
Because the cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has not been clearly pointed out yet even though the most recent and largely backed up hypothesis has to do with genetics, for decades it was easy to speculate about what causes autism. In some parts of the world more ‘traditionalist’ psychoanalysts still blame mothers of autistic children for being ‘too cold’ and career-oriented, whether such claims are objectively true or not.
But by far our ‘favorite’ debunked hypothesis about what causes ASD is the ‘vaccines cause autism’ one. FindMeCure has always been on the side of science, so this World Autism Awareness Day we’d like to take a look at the origins of the myth, the validity of the claim and how perpetuating it affects children now.
We believe that unscientific claims about the cause of autism prey on the need of parents to have an outlet for their fear and anxiety. But just like the ‘refrigerator mother’ puts a huge burden of blame on their shoulders, the ‘vaccines cause autism’ myth shames parents for wanting to prevent long-forgotten diseases that can cause real damage.