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Understanding AutismParents, Doctors, and the History of a Disorder$
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Chloe Silverman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150468

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150468.001.0001

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Brains, Pedigrees, and Promises: Lessons from the Politics of Autism Genetics

Brains, Pedigrees, and Promises: Lessons from the Politics of Autism Genetics

(p.141) 4 Brains, Pedigrees, and Promises: Lessons from the Politics of Autism Genetics
Understanding Autism

Chloe Silverman

Princeton University Press

This chapter tells the story of two parent groups, the Cure Autism Now Foundation (CAN) and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR), and their efforts to promote genetic research on autism. Genetics provides an effective vocabulary for expressing responsibilities and experiences of membership that develop out of love, friendship, and loyalty. These connections have been established in a number of ways. Parent groups and researchers reframed autism as a neurological and genetic condition during the 1960s as an alternative to psychogenic theories of autism. In the present, advocates for autism and Asperger syndrome accept a genetic and neurological definition of the syndrome, but protest the use of behavioral and sometimes medical interventions. The chapter examines how CAN and NAAR were able to mobilize the partiality associated with their status as parents as an asset as they constructed new institutions for producing facts about autism genetics.

Keywords:   autism, Cure Autism Now Foundation, National Alliance for Autism Research, genetic research, love, Asperger syndrome, parents, autism genetics

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