My interest in autism began when it was suggested that an autism spectrum disorder might be the cause of my son’s developmental problems. Like many parents, I found what I read about autism perplexing, and had to do a great deal of reading before what I read began to make sense. My investigations have taken me off the beaten track somewhat, have led me to question the prevalent theoretical models of autism in particular, models of so-called mental disorders in general, and have got me interested in how scientists form the conceptual models they use in research.

I knew next to nothing about autism when I began researching. The obvious place to start was with one of the many accessible introductory websites or books. What I found was that they described autism but didn’t explain it. So I moved on to more technical material I thought might help. I was surprised to find that academic books and journal papers also tended to offer descriptions rather than explanations. And that the explanations that were put forward often didn’t explain the data. I felt I must have missed something, decided to start from the beginning and read Leo Kanner’s ground-breaking paper on childhood autism published in 1943. That’s where this blog starts. I hope it provides a useful resource for others and that it stimulates discussion.