Hans Johann Asperger

Hans Johann Asperger

Hausbrunn, Mistelbach Bezirk, Lower Austria (Niederösterreich), Austria
Death 21 Oct 1980 (aged 74)
Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Burial Neustift am Walde, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Plot Group 5, Row 8, Number 35
Memorial ID 61325075 · View Source
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Pediatrician, Medical Theorist. He is best remembered for his early studies on mental disorders, especially in children, and is credited with discovering the autistic disorder that is now referred to as Asperger Syndrome. Born the oldest of two children, he had difficulty finding friends and was considered a lonely, remote child and may have exhibited features of the condition subsequently named after him. He was talented in language and he was keenly interested in the Austrian poet Franz Grillparzer, whose poetry he would frequently quote to his uninterested classmates. He also liked to quote himself and often referred to himself from a third-person perspective. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria and practiced at the University Children's Hospital there. In 1931 he received his Doctor of Medicine and the following year he became the director of the special education section at the university children's clinic in Vienna. During World War II, he was a medical officer, serving in the Axis occupation of Croatia. In 1944 he published a definition of autistic psychopathy that was nearly identical with the definition published earlier by a Russian neurologist Grunya Sukhareva in 1926. He identified in four boys a pattern of behavior and abilities that included "a lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships, one-sided conversations, intense absorption in a special interest, and clumsy movements". He referred to them as "little professors" because of their ability to talk about their favorite subject in great detail. He went on to discover that many of the children he identified as being autistic used their special talents in adulthood and had successful careers. One of them became a professor of astronomy and solved an error in Newton's work he had originally noticed as a student. Another patient was the Austrian writer and Nobel Prize in Literature laureate, Elfriede Jelinek. Towards the end of the war, he helped open a school for children that was bombed and destroyed, and much of his early work was lost. After the publication of his landmark paper describing autistic symptoms, he found a permanent tenured post at the University of Vienna. Shortly after the end of World War II, he became director of a children's clinic in the city. He was appointed chair of pediatrics at the University of Vienna, a post he held for twenty years and later held a post at Innsbruck, Switzerland. In 1964 he headed the SOS-Kinderdorf (Children's Village) in Hinterbruhl, Austria. In 1977 he became Professor Emeritus and died three years later at the age of 74, before his identification of this behavior pattern became widely recognized.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


Dr. Hans Asperger
* 18.2.1906 + 21.10.1980


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Big Ern
  • Added: 8 Nov 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 61325075
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Hans Johann Asperger (18 Feb 1906–21 Oct 1980), Find a Grave Memorial no. 61325075, citing Friedhof Neustift am Walde, Neustift am Walde, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria ; Maintained by Find A Grave .