Library of the History of Autism Research

Kaspar Hauser's Recovery and Autopsy: A Perspective on Neurological and Sociological Requirements for Language Development

Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 209-217, 1978

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The feral children literature has frequently been cited for relevance to understanding historical antecedents of autism. Kaspar Hauser, who appeared in Nuremberg, Germany in 1828, is one of these children, raised under conditions of extreme deprivation. His case history and gradual acquisition of language after age 17 years are summarized. There is strong evidence that he was the prince of Baden, abducted from his cradle in 1812. Findings of postmortem examination, conducted after his assassination, are discussed. Hauser's postadolescent recovery of language contradicts the notion of a "critical period" for language development.
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