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Leo Kanner

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Overview



Leo Kanner (June 13, 1894 - April 4, 1981) was an Austrian-American psychiatrist and physician known for his work related to autism.

Biography


Kanner was born in Klekotow, Austria. He studied at the University of Berlin in 1913 but his studies were interrupted by service with the Austrian Army in World War I, and he finally received his MD in 1921. He emigrated to the United States in 1924 to take a position as an assistant physician at the State Hospital in Yankton County, South Dakota. In 1930 he was selected to develop the first child psychiatry service in a pediatric hospital at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. He became associate professor of psychiatry in 1933.

He was the first physician in the United States to be identified as a child psychiatrist and his first textbook, Child Psychiatry in 1935, was the first English-language textbook to focus on the psychiatric problems of children. His seminal 1943 paper "Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact," together with the work of Hans Asperger, forms the basis of the modern study of autism. He became director of child psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1957.

References


Kanner, L. (1943) Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact (pdf file) Nervous Child 2:217-250.

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