Autistic, not psychotic

“In 1965, aged 2 years old, I was admitted for a three day hospital observation at St Elmo’s Private Hospital in Brunswick, Victoria. I was to be tested for deafness and Leukemia (I had constant infections, easy bruising, bleeding gums, my eyelashes would come out in clumps). I also had a stomach tensing and compulsive coughing tic (Tourette’s) that compelled me to the point I was coughing blood, appeared deaf, stared through everyone and everything and showed no response to pain. My parents were told I wasn’t deaf and didn’t have Leukemia. According to my father, the doctors had, instead, assessed that I was psychotic. In 1965 the 2-5 year old children who today would be diagnosed with autism, were often instead deemed ‘psychotic’.” – Donna Williams

Wow, I never knew autistic children back in the day were classified psychotic and stuck in an institution. Click on Donna’s name above to read her story. Apparently she’s written books so she sounds like a pretty well known person in the world of autism. I only wish I’d found her site sooner, but I’m glad I found it. After reading her story, I can really see how much farther we’ve come as far as diagnosis.


Filed under Autism, awareness month

2 Responses to Autistic, not psychotic

  1. Yes and “back in the day” was actually very very recent, only discontinuing that practice about in the 80s and 90s, not all that long ago. Especially young girls, autism for a long time was considered a male only disorder, so many young girls were misdiagnosed due to that thinking among the medical profession. It’s one of the reasons I went undiagnosed for so long and I was born in the 80s but still common perception then was autism occured in boys not girls.

    I had never heard of this woman. I will have to read more. Thanks for the link!

  2. Ro

    Oh good, I hope she’s a good resource. I worry about running across something giving wrong information. I actually found her because I was searching for a topic and googled “autism and addiction”. She has an interesting essay on it but I was really mentally fatigued and couldn’t quite understand it. I might try and tackle it tomorrow.

    Yeah she mentioned about the timeline and she went through that because she was born in the 60’s and not diagnosed until her twenties. I’m so glad it’s not like that anymore, though there’s still so much room for improvement.

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