Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Autism Researcher Dies

Dr. Bernard Rimland (1928 -2006)

Dr. Rimland a psychologist who pioneered modern autism research and advocacy and founded the Autism Society of America; died in El Cajon, Calif December 2006.

In 1958, Rimland diagnosed autism in his 2-year-old son Mark with the help of a college textbook. The personal discovery led to a professional crusade. "This was war," he later wrote. In 1964, he published Infantile Autism, a landmark book that argued autism had biochemical roots and upended the then conventional wisdom that it was a child's response to "refrigerator mothers" who didn't show adequate affection.

An adviser to the makers of Rain Man--his son was a model for Dustin Hoffman's Oscar-winning 1988 turn as an autistic savant--Rimland also controversially claimed metals like mercury could trigger autism and vitamins could help treat it.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Rimland at a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) conference in 2003. He was a researcher in the field of Autism that had an axe to grind and took his research very personal. He helped found and direct the DAN! organization. The conference in Portland, OR was amazing in that it brought together scientists, physicians and parents of autistic children in one forum. Since that time I have embraced much of what DAN! researchers offered as therapies.

For more info visit: www.autismwebsite.com

Source: Time Magazine -Milestones, Jef Chu & Jeninne Lee-St. John (12-11-2006)


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