Understanding autism
Understanding autism

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Understanding autism

3.2 Parental blame: fighting back

Here are two more pioneering parents: Lorna Wing, who became a leading autism expert, followed by Hannelore Braunsberg. These days, Hannelore’s son David, who appears in the clip, is a talented artist. Both these parents contested the stigmatising explanation for their children’s condition.

Download this video clip.Video player: aut_1_wk03_autism-puzzle_13_david.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

NARRATOR:
No one knew what caused autism. But parents were blamed by Freudian psychiatrists who believed that what they termed, "refrigerator mothers" had made their children cold and disturbed.
LORNA WING:
This was absolutely devastating for the parents. They were terribly worried about their children. They wanted to know what was wrong, what they could do to help. And instead of being given comfort and helpful advice, they were blamed for their children's problems.
HANNELORE BRAUNSBERG:
We were told that it's the parents and the parents are cold and that parents were blamed. And you know, at that time, that was sort the sort of fashionable view, that, you know, it was your fault.
I did exactly the same with David as with my daughter. And she was the most normal child all the way through and the most level-headed child. And I never had any problems with her. So I thought, you know, it just can't be me, because what did I do different? I didn't do-- if anything, David got more spoiled being the younger one. So I didn't think that was a reason really.
End transcript
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
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 nearly 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, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 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 prospectus