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Refrigerator Mother

Professor Bruno Bettelheim believed that autism was caused by a lack of maternal affection. This led to the concept of the 'refrigerator mother' i.e. a mother who was emotionally distant. This theory has since been disproved.

We now have evidence that autism has nothing to do with lack of affection from parents. Most mothers and fathers of children with autism are extremely caring and loving parents.

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About This Glossary

This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..

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The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.