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Coined in 1912 by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Bleuler (1857-1939) from Latin autismus, from Ancient Greek αὐτός (autós, self).


autism (usually uncountable, plural autisms)

  1. (clinical psychology) Pervasive neurological disorder that is observable in early childhood and persists throughout the lifespan, characterised by atypical communication, language development, eye contact, and sensory experiences.
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 72-3: 
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.


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