Where did autism get its name?

The term autism came about decades before the disorder was recognized. Autismus, the New Latin word that autism is derived from, was coined by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1910. He used the term as a descriptor of symptoms of schizophrenia. The word Autismus was derived from the Greek word autos meaning morbid self-admiration which is in reference to the tendency of his patients to have a preference to be alone. It was not until 1938 that this word was used in its current sense. Austrian Hans Asperger began using Bleuler's term "autistic psychopaths" when studying an autism spectrum disorder that was eventually named after him, Asperger's Disorder. This disorder was not classified as a different diagnosis from autism until 1994 (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Around the same time of Asperger's studies in Austria, American Leo Kanner (1943) began studying what he called "early infantile autism." He was also the first person to use the English word "autism" in 1943 when he identified 11 children with very similar behaviors. Many of the characteristics that Kanner used to describe early infantile autism are still used today when describing autism, such as social impairments and insistence on sameness.