http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_silberman_the_forgotten_history_of_autism From the TED website: "Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism. In 1975, 1 in 5,000 kids was estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 is on the autism spectrum. What caused this steep rise? Steve Silberman points to 'a perfect storm of autism awareness' — a pair of psychologists with an accepting view, an unexpected pop culture moment and a new clinical test. But to really understand, we have to go back further to an Austrian doctor by the name of Hans Asperger, who published a pioneering paper in 1944. Because it was buried in time, autism has been shrouded in misunderstanding ever since."
A proper and accurate understanding of the history of autism will lead to greater acceptance and, one can hope, better services and support.