Understanding autism
Understanding autism

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding autism

6.2 Asperger revisited

Until very recently, many believed that Asperger shielded children in his clinic from Nazi programmes designed to ‘cleanse’ the Austrian and German population of individuals deemed to be weak, burdensome or ethnically non-Aryan (e.g. Jewish). However, very recently two researchers have shed new light on Asperger’s war-time activities (Czech 2018; Sheffer 2018). They provide convincing evidence that Asperger collaborated with the Nazi regime, despatching some children in his care to a ‘euthanasia clinic’ where they met their death. These revelations have caused widespread shock and revulsion, and at the time of launching this course, Asperger’s standing and contributions to the autism field are under searching review. There is no simple way forward. For instance, although Asperger syndrome is, for other reasons, ceasing to be a formal sub-diagnosis, for several decades, many people on the autism spectrum have accepted Asperger syndrome as their diagnosis, and embraced it as an identity. A range of views is beginning to emerge: some are arguing that Asperger syndrome should be renamed; others point out that history cannot be completely rewritten and terminology should be considered distinct from the individuals who may have originated it.

You can read more about the researchers’ findings and about different ideas for the way forward here:

https://www.spectrumnews.org/ news/ new-evidence-ties-hans-asperger-nazi-eugenics-program/ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

AUT_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371