The article on autism in the Summer 2004 issue brought back interesting memories. In 1953 I was on the pediatric house staff, and my first experience with autism was in the family: a nephew who did not walk or talk at age 2, did not seem to relate to others, had odd and limited food preferences and could spend much of his day sitting in the corner spinning toy tops.
We asked Sally Provence of the Child Study Center to see him. She made the diagnosis of autism. Since his parents were busy with three other children and their work, etc., Sally suggested he live with his grandparents for a year. They were retired and could give him their full attention. Within the year the boy was relating to others and talking. Today he lives alone and holds a responsible technical job that requires some contact with others.
Naturally the family gives full credit to Dr. Provence for this success. She deserves recognition for her insight into the psychological problems of children.
Ira Gabrielson, M.D., HS ’53
Drexel University College of Medicine